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Lo Squartatore di New York

The New York Ripper

Italy 1982
produced by
Fabrizio De Angelis for Fulvia Film
directed by Lucio Fulci
starring Jack Hedley, Almanta Suska (as Almanta Keller), Howard Ross, Andrea Occhipinti (as Andrew Painter), Alexandra Delli Colli, Paolo Marco, Cinzia de Ponti, Cosimo Cinieri (as Laurence Welles), Daniela Doria, Babette New, Zora Kerova, Paul E. Guskin, Antone Pagán, Josh Cruze, Marsha MacBride, Rita Silva, Giordano Falzoni, Lucio Fulci, Barbara Cupisti, Martin Sorrentino, Violetta Jean, Cesare Di Vito, Elisa Cervi, Chiara Ferrari, Rick Reid Jorge Umberto Quevedo, Ralph Nieves, Urs Althaus
story by Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, Lucio Fulci, screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, Lucio Fulci, Dardano Sacchetti, music by Francesco De Masi, special makeup effects by Germano Natali, cinematography by Luigi Kuveiller

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A serial killer terrorizes New York City, killing young women in public places - like a ferry or a strip club - and in broad daylight. Police Lt Williams (Mark Hedley) however is left baffled, as there seems to be - at first - not only no clue, but the killer - in a cartoon duck voice - at times even phones him to anounce another murder. Eventually he goes so far to threaten the life of Kitty (Daniela Doria), a prostitute whom Williams visits regularly for a nookie and has developed feelings for. Even psychiatrist Dr Davis (Paolo Malco), whom Williams asks for advice, can do precious little at first. Now could the killer be Dr Lodge (Cosimo Cinieri), a pervert who loves to listen to tapes of his promiscuous wife Jane (Alexandra Delli Colli) having sex with other men? Weirdly enough, she is seen frequently at the scenes of some of the crimes ...

Then though lovely young Fay (Almanta Suska) feels threatened by a three-fingered men, Mickey Scellenda (Howard Ross), in the subway, and upon running away from him she is stabbed pretty severely by our serial killer. When questioned by Williams she claims to be sure that Scellenda assaulted her ... but why then did she have this strange nightmare that her own boyfriend Peter (Andrea Occhipinti) was trying to kill her? Anyway, the police believes Scellenda to be the murderer and puts out a search warrant - while he presently has kinky bondage sex with Jane in a cheap hotel room. After sex though, with Scellenda sleeping, Jane, tied to the bedpost, learns that the men sleeping besides her is actually a wanted serial killer, and only with the greatest of efforts can she free herself and make it out of the room without waking Scellenda ... only to be slaughtered inthe hallway.

In the meantime Fay moves in with Peter, when Scellenda stops by to have his revenge for her selling him to the police - but fortunately Peter caqn chase him off. Days later, Williams gets another call from the killer (in his usual duck-voice), and he claims to call from Kitty's place - but when Williams finally arrives there, he finds his favourite prostitute badly cut up and dead. The case though gets really muddled when Scellenda's body is found, and it turns out he has died days prior to Kitty's murder - which leaves Williams without a suspect, let alone culprit. And all he has to go on are too-innocent-to-be-true Fay and Peter ...

 

In the 1970s, when the giallo genre (a specifically Italian blend of murder mystery and serial-killer shocker) was at its height, Lucio Fulci, not yet a zombie director, made a few quite good genre-pieces (e.g. Don't Torture a Duckling, Seven Notes in Black). In the early 1980s however, when this film was made, the giallo fad was essentially over and the audience wanted (and expected) something stronger - and Fulci has already proven himself to be willing and able to deliver in these categories by 1982. As a result, The New York Ripper, technically a giallo, played down the whodunnit angle as such and instead presented the audience with a few very graphic gore scenes - and some sleazy bits on the side. The result is not a masterpiece, and very likely not even among Fulci's best, but on the plus side it's very competently put together, has suspense, violence and scares all in the right places, and if you're into violent trash from the early 1980s (as am I), you can't go much better than with this movie (nothing for the faint-hearted though).

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD