The New York Ripper has this weird legacy among the later Fulci films. While it had a rather unceremonious bow in Italy during the Spring of 1982, the whirlwind didn’t kick up until its releases in the UK and US. Watching Fulci attempt his take on Hitchcock produced a near-instant negative response from the ‘enlightened’ pop culture critics of the West. Many of these types are still poppin’ their monocles in disgust to this day. But, why?
Lucio Fulci is an acquired taste. I’ll admit that I didn’t enjoy Fulci at first, as the Film Snob (pre Twitter) collective automatically deems Argento to be the far superior director. I’m not going to snipe anymore, but I find it fascinating how they can overlook the sexual misadventures of people they deem favorites, while harping on the proclivities of people that fall outside of their purview. But, that’s neither here nor there.
When Fulci moved to NYC as a location, he did it in the way that true underground directors use it. Basically to stage better shots and then to move action to far more familiar settings. Is there anything in the film that truly requires New York City as a location. Not really.
More than anything, the only memorable part of the film is the Donald Duck voiced lead killer. It’s a freaky audio concept that plays into the weirdness of being an anonymous killer in an overpopulated city. If anything, I would call New York Ripper the most straightforward Fulci film. Anyone can dig a film about a psycho attacking women.
Not dig as in want to emulate, but it’s a lot easier to wrap your head around a film like this rather than Conquest. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the savage nature of the kills, I’d go so far as to say most people would have forgotten about this one. Past that, it’s a relic of a time bygone. The kind of urban fears that plague people not from the area, while ignoring the real things that should scare them.
The new 4K restoration continues Blue Underground’s recent streak of making Fulci look amazing. The 1080p transfer makes that superb 2.40:1 scope pop for a film shot on the cheap in the early 80s. If that wasn’t enough, you get a DTS-HD 7.1 track that will make every single Fulci scare ruin the pants of the first-time Fulci viewers you invite to watch the film.
The special features are just as stunning. Not only do you get the Blu-ray of the film, you also get a DVD and a CD copy of the soundtrack. Plus, the audio commentary and interviews are abundant. Some of these are ports, but the sheer volume of information on New York Ripper is staggering. Fulci never got this kind of love before Blue Underground got a hold of his work. Support the outlets that love true horror today.