The New York Ripper (Squartatore di New York, Lo) (1982)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1982|
|Running Time||87:08 (Case: 93)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Lucio Fulci|
Alexandra Delli Colli
Cinzia de Ponti
Paul E. Guskin
|RPI||$31.95||Music||Francesco De Masi|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.30:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Along with taboo-bending genre pieces like Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, Abel Ferrara’s Driller Killer and Sergio Garrone’s S.S. Experiment Camp, Lucio Fulci’s New York Ripper emerged as one of the most notorious films that got caught up in the censorship hysteria during the video nasty era.
Banned outright in most countries (including Australia) on its initial release, New York Ripper’s word-of-mouth reputation was further enhanced when in 1984 the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) arranged to have the print they were given to rate urgently escorted out of the country by customs officials. It was re-submitted to a more liberal minded BBFC in 2002, but 22 seconds were still sliced from the film’s most appalling sequence, involving a razor blade and a woman’s naked breast.
Plot-wise the film offers no challenge to the viewer. A psychotic killer, who quacks like a duck when carving up his victims with either a broken bottle or a straight razor blade, is terrorising New York’s female population. Ineffectual cop, Lieutenant Fred Williams (Jack Hedley), is assigned to the case. Throw in a few red herrings, a sketchy motive, atrocious dubbing, wild and shaky camera zooms, and some gruesome, misogynistic murder sequences (which had women picketing the film in the few theatres allowed to show it), and you have an uncharacteristic Fulci film that reveled in its overt nastiness.
With its narrative embracing strong themes of insanity, alienation and paranoia, complemented by a morbid Grand Guignol slasher sensibility, New York Ripper is essentially a whodunit in the style of the Italian crime thriller or Giallo film. But unlike the "tamer" type of Gialli introduced to wider audiences by Dario Argento in Deep Red and Tenebrae, most people were left stunned by the unpalatably harsh, almost clinical voyeuristic manner in which Fulci filmed and executed the highly sexualised murder sequences. Add to this a number of emotionally detached soft-core porn scenes, and the ultimate outcome is an unpleasant and disaffecting viewing experience.
In its favour, New York Ripper does have that sleazy, early 80s aesthetic coursing through the film like a virus, some inspired cinematography and imagery (the limbless girl lying in a hospital bed, for example), and disarmingly convincing special effects. However, even connoisseurs of Fulci’s earlier zombie efforts, such as The Beyond, City of the Living Dead and Zombie were left gobsmacked and still find it difficult to reconcile the film and Fulci's motives.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.30:1 and 16x9 enhanced. Considering the age and relative obscurity of the film, this is an excellent transfer.
Some background noise was evident during the first few seconds of the opening sequence. Lo-fi grain is also an intermittent, yet non-distracting concern throughout much of the film. Mild aliasing was also detected on the safety rails of the Ferry (5:51) and also later, when the camera pans the New York City skyline (6:02).
Black levels are deep and stable, while shadow detail clarity is quite penetrating, especially during low-lit sequences, such as the nasty “broken bottle” murder and the frenzied attack in the theatre (37:45).
Colours are generally vibrant, but because of the age of the source materials they can, at times, appear a little muted.
Film artefacts such as fine hair lines, white specks and scratches pepper the screen occasionally (most noticeably during the opening sequence), but as the film progresses the transfer remains fairly clean.
The English-only Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) mono mix is adequate.
The jazz inspired score (which would sound very much at home in a seedy porn cinema), by the prolific z-grade movie composer Francesco De Masi, perfectly suits the gritty nature of the film, flowing out through the front channels without any hiss or distortion.
Being a mono mix, the surrounds are not used, nor is the subwoofer called on to perform.
The badly dubbed (Italian into English) and re-dubbed (English back to English) voices come through loud and clear. Lip sync is a problem with the re-dubbed English-to-English voices, where a delay between the spoken word and lip movement is obvious.
|Surround Channel Use|
A static menu with the jazzy main theme tune played over the top of it.
This extended trailer is of interest because of the following two differences not found in the Region 4 or Region 1 DVD version of the film:
A series of five stills from the film and the original poster artwork.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
In comparison to the Region 1 Anchor Bay edition, our release misses out on:
The Region 1 misses out on:
On direct comparison, the Region 1 transfer is not as sharp or well-defined as our Region 4. Colours appear to be over-saturated and contrast levels are uneven on the Region 1 transfer, making many scenes appear either too bright or too murky.
An uncut French Region 2 release that goes under the title of L'Eventreur de New-York is also available. It contains a host of bonus features spread over two discs, including:
The DVD has French, Italian (preferred) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 language tracks and like our Region 4 edition is presented uncut in the original 2.30:1 aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced. However, it is unclear whether the bonus features have an English subtitle option.
For collectors, the French R2 Special Edition is definitely the way to go, but have a French-English dictionary close at hand just in case. However, the curious will find the Region 4 an excellent buy.
New York Ripper was perhaps a cathartic exercise on Fulci’s part to cleanse his mind of a bad relationship, or possibly it was an act of defiance against the plasticity of Hollywood. Unfortunately, we will never know the reason, as Fulci passed away on 13 March 1996 from a diabetes-related illness. Right up to his death, he stubbornly refused to justify his film.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|