The New York Ripper (1982) Poster

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Intense and Cruel - Fulci in 'Mean Mode'
chanelit8 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
A complete suprise to me - having seen Zombie and other Fulci films, with his stereotypical gore and inventive killings (usually at the hands of zombies of some type), Fulci moves completely away from any supernatural tone, to a downtrodden New York in modern-day America. A killer is on the loose, viciously murdering attractive young women. The difference that struck me with this particular film was immediate - the deaths are so much more realistic and cruel. The camera lingering over every explicit detail. Fulci seems to have set out to combine horror with thriller in this flick, and has done so on almost every level - the horror, however, mostly comes from the extremely realistic feel that this movie has and the downbeaten locations where everything occurs. The vicious murders seem all the more believable as a result.

I'd read many reviews for this film before finally watching it (in the UK, this film has an almost legendary cult-status; the BBFC actually had the film reels police-escorted out of the country when it was originally sent to them for certification in 1982), but don't necessarily agree with the way everyone mocks the killer's duck-like voice when talking to the police; if anything, it comes across as macabre and there is a reason for it, from a psychological perspective, revealed at the end. Oh yes - the final killing of the cop's girlfriend/prostitute - is every bit as nasty and prolonged as you've heard; the razor being dragged across her open eye and through her nipple, being slashed continually and slowly to ribbons, is just plain mean!

For me this is by far Fulci's cruelest, most intense piece; Recommended only for Fulci fans and those who want something much more disturbing than any mainstream slasher pic - all others stay away; otherwise this one will leave you feeling depressed for hours afterwards
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7/10
"Overall, it was a good, efficient butchery."
bensonmum229 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There's not much need to go into detail on the plot. Simply put, The New York Ripper is the story of a mad killer with a penchant for slashing young woman and harassing the police with his duck-like voice. That's really all you need to know.

The New York Ripper is Lucio Fulci's latter day ultra-violent take on the Giallo. When I say ultra-violent, I mean ULTRA-violent. If you're a fan of Fulci-style gore, there's surely something here for you. There's one scene where a girl's eye meets a razor that's particularly nasty and particularly difficult to watch. And, if you're a fan of Fulci-style sleaze, there's surely something here for you also. While I won't go as far as some reviewers and call it pornographic, there are a variety of sexual perversions on display. But it's not all blood and sex. Fulci actually manages to create a few scenes with real tension. There are moments where you know that killer is about to strike, but the anticipation Fulci builds in the audience is quite good.

Unfortunately, there are problems I have with the film. I'll limit this to two examples. First, the resolution of the mystery is a real letdown. The killer's identity is far too easy to guess. Fulci telegraphs the answer form the opening moments of the film. Second, Gialli often ask the viewer to suspend reality to accept various plot points, but the final scenes in The New York Ripper cross the line into ridiculousness and really hurt the overall film. I'm certainly no expert, but I sincerely doubt that all the psychological babble made any real sense to anyone.
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8/10
Sleazily Effective Thriller
S.A.B.5 December 1999
The late Italian director Lucio Fulci remains a controversial figure among horror film fans. Some view him merely as a hack exploitation director, who unsuccessfully tried to mimic the ideas and techniques of skilled horror directors such as Dario Argento and George Romero. Others view him as a directorial genius with his own distinctive style. Upon viewing my first Fulci film, THE NEW YORK RIPPER, I am inclined to believe that Fulci has not been given as much credit as he deserves.

THE NEW YORK RIPPER is a good example of an Italian "giallo" film, which blends the graphic gore sequences typically found in "slasher" films with the police investigations typically found in crime dramas. The film's plot is simple: a psychopath who talks like a duck is killing beautiful young women in New York City in vicious ways. Burned-out Lieutenant Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) is assigned to investigate the case, and soon gets taunting calls from the killer. At the same time, the one woman to survive the killer's attack, track star Fay Majors (Almanta Keller), finds that her life remains in peril.

THE NEW YORK RIPPER is unapologetically sleazy. The gore effects are very well done, and will make even the most hardened fans of gore wince at their brutality. There is also plenty of sex, which is quite explicit even by today's standards. In short, THE NEW YORK RIPPER is tasteless. But that doesn't mean it's bad. The film is well paced and there is hardly a dull moment. The murder mystery aspect of the film will keep you guessing until the film's climax. Fulci also delivers stylish direction and the film has some nice atmospheric shots of New York City.

One of the main criticisms of THE NEW YORK RIPPER is that it is brutally misogynistic. On the surface, this appears to be true. The killer's victims are almost all sexually promiscuous young women, who are killed in a brutal, sexual manner. However, in my opinion, the film is not so much anti-woman as it is anti-humanity. Fulci's New York City, much like Martin Scorsese's in TAXI DRIVER, is a seemingly inescapable hell, filled with perverts, sex shows, prostitutes, and "42nd Street gigolos." It should also be noted that the film's one strong and sympathetic character is a woman, Fay Majors.

Also, it is often said that THE NEW YORK RIPPER is Fulci's ripoff of the 1980 film MANIAC (also one of my favorites). This is simply not true: their only similarity is that they concern a psycho killer on the loose in New York City. MANIAC is a character study horror film, while THE NEW YORK RIPPER is a mystery thriller, much like Brian DePalma's DRESSED TO KILL(1980).

Lastly, I must say that the recently released, uncut, widescreen version of THE NEW YORK RIPPER is a major improvement over the old video version. While the dubbing remains shoddy in some parts, this new edition looks beautiful in its widescreen format. Additionally, the old edition chopped up some scenes which contained crucial clues about the killer's identity. With these scenes now intact, the killer's identity is not as totally out of left field as some critics have charged.

*** out of ****
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An average crime story with excessive gore
DJ Inferno3 January 2002
But I liked it! Obviously not Lucio Fulci´s best ("The Beyond" still holds the top, followed up by "Zombi 2"!), but nevertheless "The New York Ripper" is another gorefest that delights the fans and despairs the censors (Actually this flick is banned in many countries like Australia, the U.K., Germany or Norway...)! Endowed with some nudity (Maybe the sleaziest flick Fulci ever directed...) and elements from Giallo this gem has got some really unforgettable moments: I like the scene when Alexandra Delli Colli (She plays a woman which is permanently on the search for sexual adventures...) gets stimulated by two Latino-boys in a billiard bar and the take where wonderful Zora Kerova ("Cannibal Ferox") was maltreaten by bottle is pretty gut-wrenching! The bloody climax however is when the ripper tortures a prostitute to death with using a razorblade! Really shocking and disturbing!! People who demand a clever story surely will be disappointed, gorehounds however will find a revelation in this! So if you had fun with William Lustig´s "Maniac" (1980) you will also like this effective shocker!!!
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7/10
the end of an era
movieman_kev9 September 2005
An elderly man is walking his dog one afternoon, he decides to throw a piece of wood and have his canine companion fetch, but when the dog brings back not a piece of wood, but a human hand the owner is reasonably perturbed. Thus begins Lucio Fulci's most notorious film "The New York Ripper", the most misogynistic film this side of William Lustig's "Maniac". Police detective Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) is after one sicko who cuts pretty women up in the cruelest fashion. The killer's Donald Duck voice is ludicrous and annoying, but the rampant nudity, over the top gore, red-herrings and the ultra-sleazy atmosphere make up for that in spades. It doesn't hurt that this is tightly scripted and nicely filmed either. This would be the last film in the second (and starting with "Lizard in a Woman's Skin" best) era of his three part career. The last and worst part would start with his next film "Manhattan Baby"

My Grade: B

Anchor Bay DVD Extras: Uncut version; Theatrical trailer and Lucio Fulci bio
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Only for hardcore horror fans!
martymaster17 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first Fulci film I have seen,and it is said to be the most graphic of all Fulci movies,and that explains a lot.

It starts out as an ordinary thriller with a psycho going around killing women with a knife.After the first 30 minutes I started to think that maybe it wasnt as disturbing and gory as everyone said,but then the killing scenes started to get more and more graphic and brutal. You can clearly see the knife go slowly into the victims stomach and then upwards so the blood drips out,and if that wasnt enough the killer starts to mutilate the victims in other ways,like a bottle up the vagina,various women have their throats slashed,have their guts sliced open,breasts stabbed and legs sliced.As said this movie is only for the hardcore gore fans.

Another element of New York Ripper that people seem to be put off by is the sex. New York Ripper contains more sex than all of Fulci's other works combined. There are lengthy segments in a strip/sex club,bondage and an infamous foot f*** scene that really has no point within the context of the film.

And when you finally think that the movie cant get any worse,comes the most graphic and sadistic scene I have ever seen.It involves a naked woman tied and tortured while she screams,the killer uses a razor blade and slowly cut her open while she screams,then he uses the razor blade to slowly cut of her nipples,before he slices her eyeballs open,in a very close up shot,that is hard to watch. The movie also ends with a close up shot gun shot to the head,(very graphic).

This movie is very realistic and well acted for a Fulci film and believe it or not,has a clever story and a surprising ending.

The movie is very hard to come by,and is banned in many contries,and the uncut version with the eyball and nipple scene is almost impossible to come by.

This movie isn't for everyone. Actually it may be for no one.
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10/10
My first Fulci film and I am highly impressed
Casey-526 February 2000
I had heard of Lucio Fulci for years through mail order catalogs, interviews in genre magazines, and newsgroup discussions. I just decided yesterday to shell out $15 to buy the Anchor Bay video version of "New York Ripper". I am a huge video collector and the clamshell box with the lurid cover art just called out to me. Well, I popped it into the VCR after not eating any dinner (to disallow any possible barfing!) and watched the video. Though the gore is plentiful and there are some downright sleazy scenes, I thought this was one of the best "giallo"-type crime films I've ever seen! While not as violent as I thought it would be, there are plenty of graphic murders to squirm at. The worst by far was the murder of the detective's prostitute "girlfriend", including savage razorblade attacks on her nipples and her eyes! Despite the other reviews that say there is a lot of sex, there is only one real sex scene, the rest is heavily implied. As for misogyny charges, I think the film isn't misogynistic, just the killer. And this is never explained, so I guess the film could be a tad anti-woman, but I didn't really see anything expressing this feeling that I wouldn't see in any other slasher film. The widescreen version is the best one to see, it displays Fulci's gorgeous cinematography in full and makes the film look a little more classy and sophisticated than it should. The performance of Almanta Keller as Fay, the heroine, is one of the best I've seen in Italian horror films. Her dream sequence is another disturbing visual sequence that might leave your dinner in your lap! What more can I say, I love this movie, it is sleazy, it is violent, it is controversial, but the atmosphere and style of Fulci's filmmaking more than makes up for it.
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8/10
Sleaze masterpiece
Maciste_Brother7 April 2007
You can say NEW YORK RIPPER is bad, boring, stupid, crap, worthless, mean spirited, vile, etc. Whatever you can say about NEW YORK RIPPER though, you can't say it's not sleazy. It's over-the-top sleazy and misogynistic. It never shies away from it. Personally speaking, it's sleaze par excellence. The misogynistic aspect bothers me but then 90% of horror films out there are misogynistic, so it's not like I'm not used to it. As for the sleaze aspect, well, if you don't like sleaze, don't watch it. If you're fascinated by sleaze, like me, then this is like the CITIZEN KANE of sleaze. What makes this so different than the majority of truly worthless sleaze out there is that Fulci is honest about the sleaze. Compare this to let's say the recent MURDER SET PIECES, which is very sleazy but almost totally worthless. It's so self-conscious about the fact that it's horrific and sleazy, it just doesn't work. It's not real sleaze. NEW YORK RIPPER is real 42nd Ave sleaze.

What makes NEW YORK RIPPER unique among the plethora of sleazy films made then and today is the way it's filmed. In scope, garish colors, grimy settings, very gloomy and harsh. I love the scenes shot in the subway or around other parts of a depressed NY city. The acting is not really good but the level of acting is what you expect from these kind of films. It's remarkably violent towards women. Truly appalling. But then after the stunningly blunt ending, everything is suddenly redeemed. Though most of the violence is directed towards women, the sleaze centers around women and men, including a couple having live sex in front of an audience, horny thugs, a nymphomaniac housewife who tries to sleep around with any guy, including the thugs and a hunky psycho who is thought to be the killer, and there's a gay character who's the most likable character in the whole film.

I can't say that I like this Fulci flick. NEW YORK RIPPER is not something someone likes per se. It's just too harsh to attach any affection to it. But I'm fascinated about it and that's why I give it an 8. There are very few films that can claim to be something that will never be topped and because of our PC times and depending of what's in store in the near future, it's almost guaranteed that NEW YORK RIPPER will never be topped as far as the sleaze factor is concern.
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Violence Shown in Realistic Light
marquis de cinema12 September 2001
Lo Squartatore di New York/New York Ripper(1982) outraged many horror filmgoers with its brutal uncompromising depiction of violence towards women. One of the most controversial giallos to come out of Italy. Released ten years after Don't Torture a Duckling(1972) which was also controversial for different reasons. Lucio Fulci has filmed vicious scenes of violence before but New York Ripper takes the cake in violent imagery. As brutal as giallos like Giallo a Venezia(1979) and The Killer is Still Among Us(1986). What makes the violent scenes for some tough to digest are the intense physical emotions of the murderer when killing his victims.

Gives new meaning to the term hardcore horror. Some of the most brutal depiction of hardcore horror I have witnessed in a horror film. Many of the film's contents have many similarities with Maniac(1980) which gained controversy for identical reasons. Daring approach by Fulci in making the hardcore horror moments both powerful and ugly. The director had guts in doing a giallo with an extremely unpleasant subject matter. Misunderstood Lucio Fulci film that is one of his finest horror films.

An aspect that either humored, shocked, or upset many people was the mock duck voice used by the murderer. I find that the duck voice of the killer adds to his menacing and sick presence. The duck voice of the murderer was a reference by the director to his earlier 1970s giallo, Don't Torture a Duckling(1972). A reference that is lost among some horror film enthusiasts. Capped what would be Lucio Fulci's second and final prosperous artistic period of his film career. The director's sole horror film with erotic overtones that adds to the controversial style of this pic.

Grim and relentless portrayal of human nature and its darkest aspects. The bleak nature of New York Ripper(1982) makes Lucio Fulci's gothic films look happy go lucky. Explodes with lots of anger and resentment that gives it a depressing feel. Dipped deep in nihilistic waters with the depressing portrayal of human behavior. The subplot involving the disabled little girl is uncomfortably sad. One film that has its plot full of anger and resentment is Abel Ferrara's Ms. 45(1981).

New York Ripper(1982) is filled with some of the director's usual quirks and visual trademarks. Fulci's direction pushes the limit in scenes of sadistic violence. Sometimes part of the story seems to come from the gut of the controversial filmmaker. Direction does have some negative aspects but the negatives are few and far between. The direction of Lucio Fulci for New York Ripper(1982) is not as flashy or flamboyant as Dario Argento's direction of Tenebre(1982)(except in a few moments). He does get the job done with competence and craftsman experience.

Comparisons can be made between Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper(1982) and Dario Argento's Tenebre(1982). Both films deal with similar motifs and themes on violence towards women. Also, each film are gory uncompromising giallos with striking images. New York Ripper and Tenebre each have a show stopping moment of gory murder. These two films use bold filmmaking techniques. Each changed some of the rules of the giallo genre.

There are many scenes that were controversial but the one that placed New York Ripper in film infamy was the infamous death scene of Daniela Doria. Two years for Daniela Doria after being part of another controversial scene in The Gates of Hell(1980). For a gruesome moment of vile violence it certainly has a excellent build up and pay off. As in Zombie Flesh Eaters(1979) the eye motif becomes a major part of this scene. Daniela Doria has to get kudos for acting in a difficult scene as this one. The merger of the erotic and the violent is what makes this particular scene hard to watch.

There is a small film noir quality within the frame of the story. This is because of the assortment of unsympathetic characters that surround it. The only person that comes close to having any moments of sympathy is Jane. Lt. Williams is an unlikable protagonist who comes out as arrogant and self centered. The character of Lt. Williams seems to be inspired by the close minded Police Detective of Let Sleeping Corpse Lie(1974). Dr. Davis comes out in the film as a narcissist who's too please with his intellect.

What turned off even some of the Lucio Fulci admirers was the realistic look of New York Ripper's violent scenes. Unlike in his gothic films from the same period there is no fantasy subtext to make the violence bearable. Its realistic elements help make New York Ripper(1982) into a courageous effort of fercious horror. The violence depicted towards women is what it is and that's disgusting but at the same time has a certain realism that doesn't make it totally misogynistic. New York Ripper moves away from the comic book feel of Fulci's gothic pictures and into the realism of his early 1970s giallo pictures. Its realistic depiction of violence is the film's biggest strength.

Abel Ferrara made a little ribbing to the title of this film when the killer of Fear City(1985) is once referred to as New York Knifer. Two of the film's writers had worked with Fulci before on Don't Torture a Duckling. Unusually tightly plotted thriller which never clicks in a good flow in some moments. Excellent camera work created by Deep Red(1975) DoP, Luigi Kuveiller. Its not a perfect motion picture but for a bold horror film it certainly delivers the goods.
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Not for the squeamish!
edenandbeyond18 September 2004
While this movie contains plenty of graphic violence beyond most horror movies, I cannot deny a certain brilliance in Fulci's direction. Sure there were plot holes, the dubbing was bad, the duck sounded ridiculous, those were part of the reasons I enjoyed it, simply because a logical movie doesn't play with my mind like this one did. Fulci deals with a lot of psychological issues and the areas of the unknown. There is enough unsaid that keeps you guessing until the very end (some which never gets said, but we won't go there). In my opinion, this movie had a faster pace and more solid plot than most of Fulci's more popular efforts. It was simple: someone who talks like a duck is killing beautiful women in New York. I did find it scary. Sometimes I'm intrigued how they think up some of the things they did in this movie. Maybe it should be called "The Amsterdam Ripper" because of the extreme sex, violence, and drug atmosphere. But on the Anchor Bay DVD uncut release, the cinematography was amazing. I do love that this is an Italian movie filmed in New York, another totally illogical thing to do in my mind, yet on some level, it works for the sheer creativity and guts to do something new. No Academy Awards, but they sure don't make movies like this anymore! I'll give it 3 quacks out of 5.
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