Ah, 1982. The good old days, when New York City was one sleazy and nasty mecca, with live sex shows, horny female bar patrons who climax while riding the feet of Spanish thugs, eight-fingered Greek studs who stalk women and then tie them up in bed for sex and sleep, dogs that retrieve severed hands while playing fetch, and women-hating murderers who talk like Daffy Duck while doing the deed. At least, that’s the way infamous Italian horror director Lucio Fulci paints Manhattan in New York Ripper. Me, I’m not sure if NYC was ever that bad or if all my memories come from the way I saw it portrayed in horror films I watched on cable throughout the 80s!
As with most Fulci films, the most entertaining part of New York Ripper is the excessive violence, gore, and nasty close-ups of body parts being mutilated. While there are several tense scenes, plus classic neon red and green lighting to create atmosphere, the movie isn’t particularly terrifying. It doesn’t help that, like many Italian horror films of the era, the musical “score” relies on that ridiculous whimsical late 70s/early 80s Italian muzak during what could be some of the most suspenseful scenes in the film. What’s with that??? So yeah, this is more like a gory murder mystery than a horror.
Like many of the Italian horror/whodunits of this era, blatant red herrings are thrown in constantly, completely unrelated characters have random and nonsensical experiences that have no bearing on the story, half the suspects aren’t introduced until halfway through the film, and numerous plot points aren’t even explained by the end. Why try to make a “thinking person’s movie” if even a genius wouldn’t be able to put together the pieces since they are clearly gathered from several different puzzles?
Like I said, watch New York Ripper for the gore (and sleazy sexual content if you’re into that but are too embarrassed to just buy some porn). Too many self-proclaimed film critics on the message boards analyze the movie with words like misogyny, surreal, and misanthropic to describe its brilliance. Hello! Women are having their eyeballs sliced in half, their vajayjays stabbed with broken bottles, and their nipples cut in half with straight razors! Personally, I’m not much in the mood to have my intellect challenged under such conditions. I mean, this movie is so illogical and vile that at one point, when the coroner says the killer must be “a lefty with a yen for slashing up young ladies,” my distraught brain was under the delusion that maybe I was the killer! Then I remembered I have nothing against young ladies…and I’m too scared of vajayjays to go anywhere near one.
I guess this film just wasn’t made with gay guys in mind, because other than the hot-bodied Greek missing two fingers, the only other moment of pleasure I got out of New York Ripper was when one of the male characters was paging through a Blue Boy magazine at a newsstand!