New York Ripper (1982)

a.k.a Lo Squartatore di New York (ITA)
Lucio Fulci's disturbingly grim and unrelenting Giallo thriller is certainly one of his best works. Shameless UK R0 DVD release.

The Film

New York City - a body is found rotting in bushes, while a woman is brutally murdered aboard the Staten Island ferry. Lt. Fred Williams suspects that there might be a link between the killings and enlists the help of psychologist Dr. Paul Davis, but has very little to go on, until young Fay Majors has a run-in with two fingered Mickey Scellenda - a sexual devient from Greece, who seems to be the obvious suspect...

Co-written by Gianfranco Clerici (House on the Edge of the Park (1980) and Cannibal Holocaust (1979)) and Fulci's regular co-conspirer Dardano Sacchetti, New York Ripper sets itself out as an unrelentingly grim film from the very opening, and the prospect of a happy ending seems very faint - certainly compared to Fulci's other well known pure-horror films from the era, New York Ripper has a very realistic edge which helps to underline this gritty feeling (with the exception of a rather surreal dream sequence). Fortunately in all this, the script does not lose the plot and we get a compelling Giallo plot, with some very unexpected choices (not really twists - most of the developments are very understated). The film is generally well paced, despite some scenes that might seem like padding, and the climax is very strong - with an outstanding ending that is grim beyond belief.

Fulci's direction is recognisable, if only for its often very straight-forward look and feel - he doesn't go in for the 'flashy photography' of many favourite Euro-cult directors. The surreal dream sequence is an exception and a highlight, with Fulci making good use of the coloured lights we associate more with Argento and Bava. Gore scenes are often a major point in Fulci's films, but the bloody sequences here are much more shocking than usual, a combination of the generally realistic tone of the film, and much quicker cuts than we are used to with the director - the camera does not linger on the gore scenes like in his horror films, and this really helps to cover-up their special effects origins (helped by the fact that the gore effects are very strong throughout). Sex was something Fulci kept away from during many of his horror films, but there is a lot of it here - in keeping with the film's tone however, none of it comes close to being erotic, and it usually borders on disturbing.

There are no particularly big names in the cast, British actor Jack Hedley (The Anniversary (1968)) gives a strong performance as Lt. Fred Williams. The rest of the cast are solid, Lucio Fulci gets a longer than usual cameo as the chief of police, while Soavi regular Barbara Cupisti (The Church (1989)) gets her first film role as a secretary in a short scene.

While many films today claim to be grim and dark, New York Ripper is one of the few to really fulfil - there is not a light hearted moment in the entire production, and the ending ranks among the best in genre cinema - but more importantly, the film does not eschew storyline, and we get a more than servicable Giallo plot as well, with plenty of armchair detective work required. Certainly not for anyone looking for a film to 'enjoy', it comes highly recommended to Giallo and Fulci fans, and recommended to Euro-cult fans in general who want to see one of its more controversial productions.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? No-one well known.
Directed by anyone interesting? Lucio Fulci - the cult favourite horror director, responsible for such films as Zombi 2 (1979) and The Beyond (1980), but many other films as well, including one of the very best Gialli, Don't Torture a Ducking (1970)
Any gore/violence? Several very realistically gory death scenes.
Any sex? Several sex and nude scenes - not erotic.
Who is it for?
Highly recommended to fans of Fulci and Giallo films.

Note: This film review is based on the fully uncut print of the film.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio  - 2.35:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
Picture quality is generally strong, with good colours, and despite being non-anamophic, it has good definition.
Audio English stereo - sounds good, but with some noticable hiss throughout.
Subtitles None.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Original theatrical trailer.
  • Trailer reel for more Shameless DVD releases.
      Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
      Other regions? Many other releases of the film are available. The Anchor Bay US disc is strong (although quite grainy), fully uncut, with the secretary scenes, but also the annoying misplaced end scene, it is currently OOP. The R0 Swedish AWE DVD is probably the best release available at present, including extensive English subtitled interviews, anamorphic print, and being the only DVD with the completely uncut and correctly ordered print,

      Compared to the ABUS print, the SSE disc has better colours, and is generally less grainy. (SSE left, ABUS right)
      Cuts? This print is cut and missing scenes. 34 seconds were cut by the BBFC to the 'nipple slicing scene', although use of substitution shots means that the scene does at least make sense. The subsequent eye-ball shot is fully uncut. The film is missing the brief scene of Dr. Davis talking to his secretary. A brief shot of Dr. Davis walking is also missing - in some releases of the film (including the ABUS print), this shot appears in the film's climax, damaging the flow of the film and completely out of place. The shot does not appear there on this release. The print used is English language.



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      All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 24th October 2007.
      Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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