New York Ripper

In 1982, Fulci made a departure from the more supernatural horror films that he is known best for and released "The New York Ripper." Ripper is a sleazy piece of grindhouse filmmaking that came out in the later stages of the 42nd Street glory days. While not Fulci's best work, it did garner him a bit more infamy than the rest of his catalog.

A "Donald Duck" voiced killer is stalking women in New York City that he believes break the societal rules of common decency. The duck voice is the most recognizable feature of the film and in and of itself, probably the film's most disturbing aspect. The killer preys on strippers, prostitutes and other sexually adventurous women, so Ripper has the abundance of flesh you'd expect from this type of exploitation.

The violence towards women is what this film is best known for however. Not only does the film take a rather dim view of its victims, their deaths are often torturous to an extreme degree. Most infamous is the nipple-slicing scene, which you were probably aware of even if you haven't seen the film. Many have been quick to label the film sexist or anti-woman. However I feel that this is not the case. While admittedly, the killer solely attacks women, he is really attacking what these women represent. It is no different than Jason Vorhees stalking pot-smoking teenagers through Camp Crystal Lake. In 1982 though, the slasher genre had yet to hit its full stride, so co-mingling of sex and violence in New York Ripper was shocking to even hardened exploitation lovers.
If you are looking to introduce yourself to Fulci you'd be better served taking a look at something from his supernatural thrillers, preferably the excellent "The Beyond." "New York Ripper" is by no means a bad film. It features some of Fulci's best cinematography and direction. Despite this, the tone and level of violence and nudity are going to make this for seasoned exploitation lovers and Fulci completists. It’s a shame that this film is better known for its violent content. While it doesn’t break new ground, "New York Ripper" should be seen as a quintessential exploitation film; a glimpse into film's more adventurous past.

The New York Ripper (1982)
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Review by David Carter

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