Director – Lucio Fulci
Cast – Jack Hedley, Almanta Keller, Howard Ross, Andrew Punteri, Andrea Occhipinti, Alexandra Delli Colli, Paolo Malco, Cinzia de Ponti, Cosimo Cinieri, Lucio Fulci
Release Year – 1982
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After the completion of his infamous “Death Trilogy”(City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, The House By The Cemetery) infamous Italian horror director Lucio Fulci gave us one of the most brutal and gruesome serial killer flicks to date, “The New York Ripper”. Gore and sleaze are heavily present in this film, which makes for a fun and enjoyable watch for fans of Fulci’s excellent Euro-sleaze horror.
Jack Hedley stars as Lt. Fred Williams, a burned out New York City detective who has taken on finding a vicious serial killer brutally disemboweling attractive women. To matters even spookier, the killer erupts a vicious quacking sound while taunting/killing his victims, meaning Lt. Fred Williams is dealing with a killer unlike any he has faced before. Lt. Fred Williams is no dummy, but this gruesome killer not only remains one step ahead of him…he soon sets his sights on the aging detective, making his life a living hell.
If you want to see some of the best on-screen gore EVER then I high suggest you give The New York Ripper a watch. Lucio Fulci’s direction is superbly masterful in this film, with awesome cinematography beautifully shot to the point where it looks too darn good to be a 1982 film. A friend of mine mentioned he got a “Law & Order” feel from this film, and when I took that into consideration I felt the same way, except this episode of L&O kicked more arse than all of L&O combined. All of this great camerawork and execution is made even more awesome when you throw in the numerous deaths that deliver buckets of some of the sweetest gore imaginable. We watch this excellent quacking killer deliver the utmost in carnage to his victims, including one kill that raised some big controversy in Europe when the film originally debuted, a scene involving the killer slicing a woman’s eye open with a bare razorblade. Yes, it was AWESOME. The killer himself is well used, although we see little of him until the closing sequence, very reminiscent of the usual “whodunit” films.
Story-wise the overall plot is the usual Italian serial killer Giallo-esque film, but this being a Lucio Fulci film you can expect to be thrown through a few loops here and there. My only real complaints against the film come as a result of some of the random scenes that really made little sense to me, however they were so well shot that I did not balk at them much, plus the material(very sexual) was pretty cool. The mystery element of the film is not all that high in comparison to other similar films, such as Argento’s giallo flicks, although I cannot state whether adding a swell mystery element to this film was in Fulci’s intentions. Sadly, this kept me from feeling as “into” the film as I wanted to feel, but the uniquely brutal antagonist made up for it. I can honestly say that I have never before been exposed to a serial killer that quacked during his kill and taunting scenes, and while it may sound silly to some people TRUST ME…it is no where near silly, but downright spooky. The rest of the killer’s mannerisms add to how deeply demented he is, which as we all know make for the best serial killers in film, especially when they deliver copious amounts of blood like the New York Ripper.
Overall, this is an excellent watch from Lucio Fulci that is sure to deliver what we Fulci fans love most: excellent direction, superb gore, and an outlandish story only the “Godfather of Gore” could deliver.