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The New York Ripper Main

The New York Ripper Limited Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Blue Underground

The New York Ripper Large

Directed by Lucio Fulci
Written by Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, Lucio Fulci and Dardano Sacchetti
1982, 93 minutes, Not Rated
Released on June 25th, 2019

Starring:
Jack Hedley as Lt. Fred Williams
Almanta Keller as Fay Majors
Howard Ross as Mickey Scellenda
Andrew Painter as Peter Bunch
Alexandra Delli Colli as Jane Forrester Lodge
Paolo Malco as Dr. Paul Davis
Laurence Welles as Dr. Lodge

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Review:

New York City, the city that never sleeps, the place where dreams come true can be a dangerous place too. Lt. Fred Williams is investigating a string of brutal murders around the city, the killer seemingly striking at random. This time the murderer claims a new victim on the Staten Island Ferry, and the crime once again is particularly vicious. He uses a razor to slash away at beautiful young women and oddly enough speaks in a voice similar to that of Donald Duck. Williams goes to the university to seek the help of psychologist Dr. Paul Davis, looking to put together a profile to catch this maniac. Unfortunately, the madman is always one step ahead, phoning the lieutenant to taunt him, at one point killing a woman while he helplessly listens.

Jane Forrester Lodge is an independent woman with a strong sexual appetite. When we meet her she is masturbating in a sleazy theatre, presenting a live sex show. She cruises bars for virile men and sleeps with them, recording her exploits on audio cassettes she later gives to her husband. Jane frequents the seedier side of the city and puts herself in danger, getting off on the thrill. The killer continues to target the city’s busy Times Square and 42nd Street areas and it may only be a matter of time before their paths cross. Late one evening, Fay Majors survives an attack by the ripper and describes a night of being pursued by a man with only three fingers on his right hand. Police take the lead and start an all-out search, but if this is indeed the man they are looking for, can they catch him before he kills again?

Legendary Italian director Lucio Fulci (Perversion Story) returns with a new nightmarish vision of sex and murder that is as titillating as it is unsettling. He strikes new ground with his notorious slasher/giallo hybrid The New York Ripper (1982). This is a grim picture that is meant to be provocative and Fulci holds nothing back in this gleefully sleazy tale that is both misogynistic and misanthropic. Horrible people populate this city and women are the worst offenders, frequently asking for trouble in the eyes of the storyteller. With his dynamic murder set-pieces, Fulci glorifies these violent acts with a lingering dose of sadism that helped to place the film firmly on Britain’s “Video Nasties” list of banned movies in the early 1980s.

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With its graphic depictions of eye gouging, nipple slicing and brutal torso and throat slashing, The New York Ripper is something of an acquired taste. Fulci shows little restraint when it comes to showing either nudity or violence and does so with artistic glee. He advances his story at a brisk pace with multiple protagonists and never takes the material too seriously, most obviously given the ripper’s duck-like demeanor. The picture is stylistically shot by cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller (Flesh for Frankenstein), lending an air of dark beauty to the proceedings. Jack Hedley (For Your Eyes Only) stars as Lt. Williams and does a fine job giving the picture an added level of urban grit in its seasoned protagonist.

The city of New York plays a central role in the picture with its active nightlife and welcoming attitudes toward adult entertainment. Prominent locations include Times Square, 42nd Street, Columbia University, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Staten Island Ferry and the subway system. Fulci hits a lot of popular landmarks and captures an energy that really gooses the pacing of this film. The city has changed a lot over the ensuing decades and it’s debatable whether this is for the better, but in 1982 these are some truly mean streets with a life of their own and The New York Ripper serves as something of a time capsule of a bygone era. While definitely not for everyone, fans of ‘80s horror and the Grindhouse era of movie making will find a lot to like with this Fulci classic.

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Video and Audio:

Blue Underground previously released this title on Blu-ray in 2009 with mostly favorable technical specs, but this re-issue stands head and shoulders above the previous transfer. The original camera negative has received a full 4K scan and digital restoration and the results are stunning. Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the picture really shines with its bold use of color and deeply saturated black levels. There is plenty of small-object detail and flesh tones appear natural throughout.

There are five audio options, including the original DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono recording in both English and Italian. The English soundtrack has been remastered and expanded in a DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix that is rather engaging. Additional French and Spanish tracks are available in Dolby Digital Mono presentations.

Optional English, French and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

In his audio commentary, film historian Troy Howarth reveals the origins of the film and provides an overview of Lucio Fulci’s career. He talks about casting the picture as well as the dubbing voice talent and shares production stories about shooting in New York. This is a lively discussion full of interesting information and is well worth a listen.

The Art of Killing (29 minutes) features co-writer Dardano Sacchetti (Bay of Blood) discussing his history of working with Fulci, writing for locations, following the giallo formula, collaborating with other writers and his contributions to this script. In Italian with English subtitles.

Actor Howard Ross remembers the film in Three Fingers of Violence (15 minutes) in which he tells of meeting Fulci, his approach to his character, shooting in NY and working with the make-up artist on his hand. This interview is also in Italian with English subtitles.

In The Second Victim (12 minutes), co-star Cinzia De Ponti remembers her role as the doomed cyclist. The former Miss Italy (1979) says working with Fulci was a pleasant experience and she enjoyed hanging out with his daughter on set. She shares production stories and remembers shooting her big scene on the ferry. In Italian with English subtitles.

Co-star Zora Kerova appears in the interview segment The Broken Bottle Murder (9 minutes) in which she reflects on the shocking aspects of her role. She reveals her hesitance to shoot a sex scene followed by such a graphic murder. She recalls her relationship with Fulci as demanding and challenging, but ultimately satisfying. This is another Italian language interview with English subtitles.

In the vintage interview I’m an Actress (2003, 9 minutes), Zora Kerova shares many of the same stories of how she got the part. She discusses meeting Fulci and the challenges of shooting a sex scene and the scandal it caused in her home country of Czechoslovakia. She admits to Fulci’s gruff reputation and how he warmed to her in time. She also touches on her work in Cannibal Ferox and Amazonia. In Italian with English subtitles.

Author Stephen Thrower discusses the film in the video appreciation The Beauty Killer (23 minutes). He places the movie in the arc of Fulci’s career and addresses the more shocking elements of the picture. He studies the characters and themes of the plot and explores critical response upon release. This featurette is in English.

Legendary poster artist Enzo Sciotti is the subject of the interview Paint Me Blood Red (17 minutes) in which he reveals his lifelong ambition of being an artist. He talks about designing movie posters as a portrait artist and his approach to the work. Several designs are shown from many well-known feature films. He worked in comics for a while, but movie posters were more stable economically. He tells some crazy stories about difficult clients and the beauty of working with Fulci and creating new artwork for this picture’s Blu-ray release. In Italian with English subtitles.

NYC Locations Then and Now (4 minutes) compares the shooting locations from 1981 with the way they appear in 2009.

Photo gallery (70 images) presents international poster art, lobby cards, publicity stills and home video cover art.

A theatrical trailer has been included.

A copy of the remastered soundtrack (70 minutes, 29 tracks) is offered on a separate CD.

A twenty-page illustrated booklet featuring Travis Crawford’s essay “Fulci Quacks Up: The Unrelenting Grimness of The New York Ripper” comes as an insert in the case.

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Grades:

Movie: Threestars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fivestars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fivestars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

 

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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