The New York Ripper

The New York Ripper (Lucio Fulci, 1982)

NEW YORK RIPPER follows the attempts of the New York Police Department, as they try to uncover the identity of a serial killer who’s been slaughtering promiscuous females. Will this sadistic fiend be apprehended before he claims another victim? The film has an extremely simple plot at its core, but as they say, it’s all in the execution. NEW YORK RIPPER is one of the sleaziest, grimiest and downright nasty little flicks you’re ever likely to see, even in this slightly censored version brought to you by new company on the block, Shameless Screen Entertainment.

Lucio Fulci’s NEW YORK RIPPER has had a somewhat troubled history on our fair shores. Back in 1984, the film was refused a certificate by then-BBFC head honcho James Ferman and he insisted that the film print be transported out of the country under police escort. The film became even more infamous when Ferman mentioned it in an interview for SEX AND THE CENSORS–a documentary that was made for Channel Four and aired during their ‘Banned Season’ during the early nineties—where he cited NEW YORK RIPPER for being completely irresponsible. I don’t know about anyone else, but Ferman’s comments were like a seal of approval to me; I was desperate to see the film!

I finally got around to seeing NEW YORK RIPPER after meeting Tanzi. Tanzi was a cool cat to an eighteen-year-old that had only read about the banned films, but in all honesty, I wasn’t ready for seeing the film back then, as I found it really disturbing and without a doubt, the nastiest, grubbiest flick I’d ever seen.  I even told Tanzi that I had no intention of ever watching the film again…|

So, fastforward a few years and I began to re-evaluate Fulci’s films, so I thought I’d give NEW YORK RIPPER another go. Though the film had lost none of its power, I was ready to acknowledge the fact that it is an excellently crafted piece of sleaze and probably the last great, non Argento-directed giallo.

Shameless’ disc presents the film well. Although the disc isn’t anamorphically enhanced, the print preserves the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and serves the film well and is sharper and has more vivid colours, when compared to Anchor Bay’s US release from several years ago, especially during darker scenes. The sound is also well presented, though as one would expect from a film of this age, it’s a little undistinguished. The film’s trailer is included, as are trailers for six other Shameless releases.

The film has been censored in accordance to BBFC policy and although much of the grisly impact of the climactic murder is now missing, the cuts are well placed and are not jarring.

Obviously, hardcore, net-savvy fans more than likely own NEW YORK RIPPER already, but to the undiscerning viewer, this is still a very well-presented release of a notorious film. Then again, if you were always bothered by the scene in question, then this is the release for you! If Shameless can maintain the same level of quality for their future titles, I shall be very pleased.

(Paul Alaoui)