Lucio Fulci is an acquired taste. It takes a fondness for bad dubbing, misogyny, and the joy of watching Clue-like mysteries unfold in front of you very eyes. I liken to that time I got hooked on hipster chicks and it nearly ruined my life. It was only after a heated debate about the merits of Vampire Weekend’s latest release that I realized I was in too deep. Italian horror was the same for me. At first I thought it was rather stupid and cheesy (always wearing those black-rimmed glasses and carrying around a backpack caked with buttons). Then one day I was celebrating the virtues of Mario, Lamberto, and Lucio. It was too late. I was hooked.
The New York Ripper is a giallo/slasher/police movie that features a killer that quacks like a duck. You cannot make this sh*t up. It mostly serves the purpose of maiming, torturing, and killing women. At which it succeeds with flying colors. Other qualities include eyeball slicing and gun shots to the face. It’s a real family film if there ever was one.
Overall, it doesn’t really work for me. It’s a bit confusing and the whole Donald Duck thing is as stupid as it sounds. The violence is, of course, extreme by almost any standards. I just find a hard time truly believing the film adds anything outside of shock value.
Sure, I’ve heard others talk about how this is a multi-layered flick with many parallels to blah blah blah. The New York Ripper at heart is an exploitation film that celebrates and takes much pride in its view of women. I cannot find a lot of redeeming value. Then again, I quite enjoy the original Last House on the Left and I Spit On Your Grave. It could have just been my mood tonight. Maybe I am losing my sense of joy that comes from mindless violence. Or maybe it’s just that I have always thought Goofy was cooler than Donald Duck.
If you are new to Italian cinema and Fulci in particular I wouldn’t recommend this film. Start out with City of the Living Dead, House by the Cemetery, The Beyond or Zombi2. All better films, in fact, Ripper is one of his worst.
Snore Factor: ZZZZ (meh)