The New York Ripper - The New York Ripper(Blu Ray, DVD & CD) [Blue Underground - 2019]Following on from their (relatively) recent ultimate editionís of Maniac, and Zombie here we find Blue Underground offering up another classy three-disc reissue of another 1980ís extreme classic- Lucio Fulciís NYC based grimy 'n' sleazed Giallo The New York Ripper. This new edition brings together a Blu Ray, DVD, and CD - the film gets a wonderful crisp new scan, there's a great selection of mostly brand spanking new extras, the soundtrack, new inlay booklet- with the limited edition coming in a Lenticular 3D cover.
Released in 1982 The New York Ripper ( aka Lo squartatore di New York, Psycho Ripper )was the forty-fourth film from Lucio Fulci, & itís fair to say it was one of the controversial/ contentious films of his career- worldwide it had censorship problems, it was highly criticized for itís grim & grimy blend of extreme violence & sexual content, and in the Uk supposable a copy of the film was removed by armed guards from the country. I still recall the first time I saw the film around fifteen or so years back, I was very familiar and highly enjoyed Fulci other classy-yet at times nonsensical & macabre-yet-surreal horror films of the late í70s/early í80s- but I guess down not been able to get hold of a copy, and general apprehension I hadn't seen the film. And that first watch was decidedly troubling & intense- Iíve now seen the film more than a handful of times, and while that initial gut-punch shock has subsided, watching it again today itís still as shocking, impactful, and at times grueling watch- with the ultra brutal effects looking even more intense- which you canít say for many films from the 1980s.Roger Batty
The films plot/ set-up is certainly one of the more simplistic/ less complex of Gialloís- taking in both a few suspects & main characters, with really the script often just building/ moving towards the next murder or dose of sleaze. We have Lt. Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) a world-weary, chain-smoking & crumbled clothed middle aged investigator, who's trying to catch the brutal duck quacking killer. Heís joined by bearded college professor Dr. Paul Davis- played by Paolo Malco, who also played a Dr in Fulciís House By The Cemetery. Of the other main characters is Jane Forrester Lodge(Alexandra Delli Coll) a rich voyeuristic & sexual risk-taker. There are a few other key characters- but I won't detail them here, as it gives away some of the plots twists/ surprises- when it comes to the killer identity. But basically, we get one attack after another, with each building in both cruelty & intensity- moving towards a particular nasty nipple & eye slicing final kill. The film is set in & around 42nd street in itís most sleazed- as scenes take place in sex shows, adult cinemas, rundown hotel rooms & corridors, and graffiti splatted & rubbish piled streets. From time to time there are very subtle touches of dark humor, and of course, the whole quaking duck killer does adds a sight ridiculous edge to proceedings- though not as much as this would possibly do in another film, as The New York Ripper is such a dirty & grim film for much of its runtime. So while itís not one of my favorite Fulci films, and itís not something I watch a lot, I certainly respect & admire itís grim, brutal and extremely sleazed feel.
Moving onto the Blu Ray & DVDs- and these both take in the same new scan of the film, as well as the same extras too. And first off weíve got to talk about the truly excellent new 4K scan of the film- every element looks so clear, defined & full of clarity- and amazingly the effects still look very real & un-rubbery. 1980ís New York Cities streets look wonderful grimy & tacky neon licked, and the subway looks a very nasty place- with graffiti on every surface & stark strip lights. It really is a great, great scan- and Iíd say itís one of the best prints Iíve seen in some time. We get a new commentary track from Troy Howarth- who of course has written a book about Fulci( Splintered Visions), as well as doing a whole host of writing/ commentaries on other films of the period- and as weíve come to expect his track is great, fact backed & through- he moves from talking about the films origin, itís film schedule, going onto give in-depth bios of even the smallest roll, as well discuss who dubbed each character. He goes onto discuss the impact & effects artists for each key gore scenes, he talks about Fulci other work & where The New York Ripper fits into it, and much more. Top class stuff. The longest extra here aside of course from the commentary, is a twenty nine-minute interview with scriptwriter Dardano Sacchetti, who wrote this film & seven other films for Fulci's- this begins with him discussing how he & Fulci fell out around the making of Manhatten Baby- then he was brought back for NYR, as the others writers couldn't supply the brutal set pieces the director wanted. He goes onto discuss his relationship with Fulci- on & offset, before moving onto talking about the themes he felt are running through NYR- all told a most fascinating interview. Next, there is a twenty-four-minute featurette from the always passionate, down-to-earth & highly knowledgeable Stephen Thrower- which sees him first discussing the origins of The Beauty Killer, what would become NYR. The films Time Square setting, and how it was the perfect grindhouse picture. The films selection of decidedly sleazed & flawed characters- taking in the detective who sleeps with a prostitute, and a voyeuristic women who gets more than she bargains for. Going to discuss the films intense & grueling gore and sleaze, before talking about when he first saw the film, and his personal history with the film, before finish off discussing whether he believes if the film is as extremely misogynistic as people say. All told a great extra, and one the highlights here. Onto top of the above, we get another five new interviews- with cast members & the artists who made the films notoriously iconic poster. We get a four-minute looking at the film's location back in 1982 & in 2009, as well trailer & poster gallery/ stills. All in all hours of great content.
The final CD disc in the set is, of course, features the filmís soundtrack- this was by scored by seasoned Rome based composer Francesco De Masi, and the version here the twenty-nine track/ nearing seventy-one minute version of the score which was released on Beat Records in 2016. The score is very effective, memorable and moody- going between punchy funk rock & synth fired cues, onto more noir focused jazzy sleaziness, and the odd creepy/ off-kilter moment. So itís great to have it here. The other extra is glossy twenty-page inlay booklet- this takes in a new lengthy write-up about the film, itís impact, similar films, and Fulci other films by Travis Crawford.
In finishing Blue Underground have done it once again- giving genre fans classy & ultimate edition of this nasty 1980ís classic- I'm looking forward to seeing whatís their next film the label focuses on. Really if you're into extreme & brutal cinema, violent sleaze, or Italian cinema at itís more sleazed & nasty- you have to pick this up.