New York Ripper (The) AKA Lo Squartatore di New York (1982)
R0 - Australia - Stomp Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jari Kovalainen (1st November 2005).
The Film

New York is not an entirely new location for the Italian director Lucio Fulci. Zombies marching on the Brooklyn bridge in “Zombi 2 AKA Zombie (1979)” is something that many horror-fans will remember. This time Fulci has left his zombies alone and made a film about a serial killer in New York City, in his own gory way of course.

“The New York Ripper” has a reputation, which will probably always follow it. It was banned in many countries (also in Australia based on the front cover), and has been one of those films that many wanted to see badly from day one because its reputation (even when it´s not Fulci´s best film by any means). Stories about the “gruesome murders” and “explicit nudity” made the film already famous, even when it took several years before fans could see it in a proper way, and not from the old VHS-copies and such.

The film starts where the zombies were left off in 1979, near the Brooklyn Bridge. A man and mainly his dog finds a severed hand, and before anything else can happen the main theme kicks in by the legendary composer (who sadly passed away this year) Francesco De Masi. After this quick and effective opening, Lt. Frank Williams (Jack Hedley) is introduced, and he´s in charge of the investigation of the murders. It appears, that the killer has been calling the first victim, with a “voice of a duck”. Lt. Williams also gets help from the college professor Dr. Paul Davis (Paolo Malco), when they follow the leads from the serial killer. Soon it´ll become a bit personal, since the “duck-voiced” killer also calls Lt. Williams. The cat and mouse game is set.

Most of the reputation of “The New York Ripper” comes from the murder-scenes, which are indeed a bit nasty. Fulci hasn´t actually been portraying the women in his movies in the nicest way possible (well, usually they die), but in here the “tools” which the killer uses are such as razor blades and broken bottles, so the results are not pretty. The gore-scenes are still under certain “limits”, but not for the faint hearted, that´s for sure.

To me, the most surprising (if you have to find one) aspect of the film is the nudity and erotic scenes, which are not the usual images that you´ll see in the films by Lucio Fulci. Sex addict Jane Lodge (Alexandra Delli Colli) brings some erotic flavor to the film, and you have e.g. a lengthy scene in the sex show also. This was the time (early 1980s) when a couple of additional sex-scenes in the movie would make the marketing of the film easier for some areas, but then again those scenes bring a certain “Taxi Driver”-type of grittiness to the film from the sleazy underworld of New York City.

In the end, “The New York Ripper” fails in the quite important factor: The film is a bit uninteresting. Sure, there are some well executed (no pun intended) scenes, violence for the fans of gore, and some “giallo-ish” atmosphere, but in the end you don´t have that much to write about. If you want to see Lucio Fulci in his prime, there are several better movies to do so, e.g. “The Beyond AKA E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore - L'Aldilà (1981)”, “A Lizard in a Woman's Skin AKA Una Lucertola con la pelle di donna (1971)”, and “Don't Torture A Duckling AKA Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino (1972)”.

Video

Australian “Stomp Entertainment” has presented the film in its uncut form (! EDIT: Not quite so after all. More info can be found from my other review HERE), and in Anamorphic (approx.) 2.30:1 (on a Single Layer disc). Transfer is quite good and solid, with colors and black levels well balanced, and film grain is not a problem. There are certain amount of film artifacts in the transfer and some line shimmering, but in many ways this is a very satisfactory transfer.

I compared this disc to the earlier US-transfer (R0 disc by “Anchor Bay”), and there are some differences. “Anchor Bay” disc has a softer transfer, and to me it looks like the black levels are not what they should be, making some scenes a bit on the “murky”-side. However, “Anchor Bay”-transfer is cleaner (with less film artifacts,) so that´s the weak point of this newer release by “Stomp Entertainment”. Cover says “NTSC”, but based on the running time this should be PAL. Single Layer disc is R0 and the film runs 87:08 minutes. It has 24 chapters.

Audio

Disc has only one audio track, and that´s the English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. You could say that this is a pretty “standard” Mono-track of the films in this genre. It´s not perfectly clean, but does the job. There is some background “hiss” in the transfer, but other than that I have no complaints. There are no subtitles on the disc of any kind. The English dub is also ok, but these dub-tracks are hardly ever perfect (like most Italian-films in this era, audio-tracks were dubbed in a different markets).

Extras

This release is a bit thin when it comes to extras, but we have at least something. US Theatrical trailer (3:19 minutes) is included, and disc has also a very brief Photo gallery (30 seconds), with some location shots. That´s it. On a side note, I could add that the cover is not very good, looking like it has been done in 5 minutes with Photoshop.

Overall

For the Fulci-fans “The New York Ripper” is probably a film that they don´t want to miss, but even for them this could be a bit of a disappointment. It has some interesting aspects and some good “special make-up effects” for those who like them (I do), but on the whole this didn´t deliver the goods. Disc from “Stomp Entertainment” is a good effort, but almost bare bones.

For more info, please visit the homepage of Stomp Entertainment.

The Film: Video: Audio: Extras: Overall:

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.