(Lo squartatore di New York)
Director: Lucio Fulci
After taking in a viewing of The New York Ripper, one of Fulci's most controversial trashterpieces, I came to an important realization.
I have no real interest in seeing modern New York. I want only to visit the New York of my cinematic childhood. That sleazy, slimy, wet city that was equal parts grime and equal parts glamour that I experienced first in children's fare like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and then, later in life, epitomized in gritty crime dramas and exploitation films like The New York Ripper. New York, in my mind, is comprised only of alleys, sewers, subway tunnels, and peep show booths.
It's for this reason that The New York Ripper appeals to me. Unfortunately, it's not enough to keep me interested. Fulci's shocking and degrading giallo of the 1980s about a misogynistic killer who speaks with the voice of a cartoon duck is predictably silly and simply sleazy for sleaze's sake.
|Lassie is ready to give you a hand|
|Do you see something out of the corner of your eye?|
The film's also a nastier piece of work than most. While the killer is clearly misogynistic, the film as a whole manipulates its female characters into roles where they are degraded and abused. Not just the killer but the overall thrust of the movie is one of hate towards women. I'm not saying Lucio Fulci hates women -- that's too broad a suggestion. It is clear, however, that he chose to make a movie with a misogynistic outlook. Was this to give the killer's own misogyny a cultural origin to make a point about how society breeds killers who take out their fury on women? I think that interpretation is a stretch and gives the script far too much credit. More likely, it was a conscious decision to shock and disgust audiences in the spirit of exploitation.
|I think you get my point, pal.|
In the sleaziest way possible. I promised myself when I started Monster Chiller Horror Theatre that I would credit any film as "sexy" if it at least embraced the lowest bar of eroticism: gratuitous nudity. As such, New York Ripper meets its quota of bare breasts. Unfortunately, the women to which they belong are being butchered. While New York Ripper explores sexualized violence through its killer, it also explores New York's salacious side through the character of Jane Lodge (Alexandra Delli Colli). Lodge gets off on visiting live sex shows, letting strangers rape her with their bare feet under the table, and being tied up in sleazy hotels. It's for this latter fetish that she crosses fatal paths with the New York Ripper. So, if you like your movies sexy in a shameless, dirty, bordering-on-pornographic level, New York Ripper's for you.
|I'd wipe off her seat before you sit in it.|
For some reason, the creative minds behind New York Ripper decided it was a good idea to set their killer apart with a distinctive voice: the voice of an obscene cartoon duck. Yes, picture Donald Duck taunting the police on the phone and hurling misogynistic obscenities as he repeatedly stabs a woman to death. That's the New York Ripper.
|Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your sister, I talked... just... like... THIS!|
What to make of The New York Ripper? It's a lesser artistic work for Fulci but an exceedingly gory, socially degrading, and oddball curiosity. I found it silly and meandering, but I have to give it its due for being a straight-up gore and sex flick, duck-voiced killer aside.