Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The New York Ripper (1982)

A killer is loose in New York, sexually mutilating beautiful women. The killer talks like Donald Duck, both to his victims and when taunting the police over the telephone. An older detective tries to solve the case before another woman is cut to ribbons.

This film was directed by Lucio Fulci, who also directed the films Don't Torture a Duckling and Zombie. While I enjoyed those films, I could not get into The New York Ripper. The violence was just too misogynistic for me. Plus, Fulci seemed to come up with the killing scenes first before applying the convoluted back story. There were many suspects, all of them seedy and mysterious characters. The psychologist who was helping the detective seemed like he could have done it, as could have the gigolo, the rich but lonely and kinky wife or the lone survivor of an attack by the Ripper. To quote Randy in Scream, "Everyone's a suspect!"

I wholeheartedly agree with Killing in Style's review of the film. It does appear that Fulci used the story as padding for the killing scenes. The highly violent, erotically charged and misogynistic killings definitely come first in the film, while the plot comes second and sort of fades into the background. Killing in Style points out: could be compared with porn as it uses a similar parasitic approach: diverting a rather classic and well-coded cinema style to use it to its own advantage. When porn leverages any stereotypical scenaristic frame as a pretext to fit in as many porn scenes as possible, Fulci hijacks the early 80s American cop film codes and structure to stuff it with ultra-violent (and sometimes almost pornographic) sequences.
The "almost pornographic" death scenes make this a very uncomfortable film to watch. The camera caresses every angle of each character about to die, and continues to caress them as they are killed by the Ripper.

For everything I want to say about this movie, go to Killing in Style's excellent review of the film - he basically covers it all!

Order it on Amazon!

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