Sep 15, 2008

The New York Ripper

Ready to dance with the absurd, I began watching Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper with promises of extreme misogyny and a duck voiced serial killer. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. In 1982, Lucio Fulci directed what is known to be his most controversial and shocking film. Its basis for a killer was derived from his prior film Don't Torture a Duckling.

A Jack the Ripper is roaming the streets on New York by night, stalking young women and mutilating their genitals in crazy ways as police scramble to find the one responsible before more women are claimed. Their only lead? The killer quacks like a duck. This simple plot mechanism takes the film a lot farther than expected as a serial killer profiler torpidly narrates the killers would-be psyche.

The film in question is heralded for its realistic violence. This is understandable to a degree as we see eyeballs and nipples sliced open with a straight razor. The result is extremely graphic and unnerving to even the most jaded cinephile. Besides this point, the violence is almost ridiculous. Extended lacerations are caused with little reaction and exaggerated blood spurting. I find women to be easier to kill and maim on screen due to an intimacy between the form of a female and a camera, but maybe that is just me.

The New York Ripper is more than just an average giallo/exploitation film. It takes the formulaic approach to a serial killer and adds a twist, but the difference in this outing is that the twists birth more twists which intelligently flop around leaving you confused and attempting to solve the film before it is over. The ending cuts off at a genius frame due to a misprint in the DVD authoring stages which gives the film an extra layer. It's as if Fulci planned out several scenes with the knowledge of what would happen to the print.

The New York Ripper is a fine slasher film that presents New York in its grimiest limelight with disgusting Greek perverts polluting the city. Many appalling citizens are on display as we forget the central story and dedicate our brief time affirming our own morals with the side-stories at hand. Each character has a soul and Fulci made damn sure that once we were done analyzing dysfunctions, more extreme violence would occur.


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