Don’t let the simplistic poster deceive you! This film is the one of Lucio Fulci films that was so controversial that it was BANNED in many countries and reportedly didn’t even make a profit!
Italian shock maven Lucio Fulci directed this effort, undoubtedly one of his seediest and most offensive films. A serial killer prowls the streets of New York, preying strictly on women and butchering them in the most sadistic ways (usually starting at the crotch). The cops are always several steps behind the killer, who uses a Donald Duck voice to taunt them (and his prospective victims) over the phone. It’s all pretty misogynistic, violent, and brutal, and adds up to an unsavory viewing experience. That said, the plot hangs together fairly well (better than in much of the giallo genre), and Fulci’s camera work and editing are topnotch.
The director’s sense of color and shot composition are in line with much of contemporaries Dario Argento and Mario Bava’s work (the color red in particular dominates much of the movie). As with Argento’s work, an unassuming woman, caught up in circumstances, turns out to be the film’s heroine. Also, it’s interesting that both in this film and in Don’t Torture a Duckling, Fulci uses Donald Duck as a sort of bizarre totem of shattered innocence and tragedy. Still, Fulci uses his camera here in such a leering, lascivious way that it reinforces the film’s oppressive sleaziness and sadism. Fans of Italian horror won’t be disappointed with The New York Ripper, but be advised that the movie’s overriding unpleasantness makes it an acquired taste at best.
This eerie masterpiece takes the viewer through a “who done it” rollercoatser, Fulci style. As with all Fulci films, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end, and then leave you a little confused. Of course, as Fulci’s trade mark, the film has great gore effects. Now uncut and in widescreen the film is even better.
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