The New York Ripper (1982) from Tuna

Lo Squartatore di New York is a Lucio Fulci giallo which people remember for two things: (1) the killer quacks like a duck; (2) a woman's nipple is sliced in half with a razor blade.

Fulci puts us on notice from the opening credits, which show a man playing fetch with his dog near the Brooklyn Bridge. The dog retrieves a severed hand from the bushes. Later, a girl (Cinzia de Ponti) is riding her bicycle in the lower west side. She runs into a red VW, and the owner is quite rude. She boards the Staten Island Ferry, sees the Volkswagen and decides to leave a message for the jerk on the inside of his windshield. Someone catches her there, terrifies her, and she tries to get out the passenger door, but it is too close to the wall. The killer slices and dices her. Cut to the morgue, where we see her with her incisions stitched up. The salty old coroner comments that "the killer used a blade. He stuck it up her joy trail and slit her wide open." The coroner then says it is the same killer that did the model a few weeks before -- the one whose hand was discovered in the opening scene.


This film has more nudity than is the norm for a Lucio Fulci film, including"

  • breasts from an unknown
  • full frontal and rear from Zora Kerova, Daniela Doria and Alexandra Delli Colli
  • breasts from Cinzia de Ponti.

DVD info from Amazon.

The above DVD transfer is excellent, especially for the age of the film. It is saturated, mostly noise free, and an anamorphic Widescreen transfer. This version has third rate dubbing, but the story came across, so that is the important thing, I guess.

If you can find it, the Danish DVD is by far the most complete version to date. The excellent transfer is all-region, and contains an English sound track, as well as subtitles for all of the Scandinavian languages. The disc is loaded with special features.

  • H. Ross interview with English Subtitles 25 minutes
  • Francesco de Massi forever interview, with English subtitles 51 minutes
  • Ti Recordi di L. Fulci (pt 2) 43 minutes (People talk about Fulci). English subtitles
  • Trailers for for the films Torso and Puzzle
  • Slide show of publicity material from several countries.

The detective in charge returns to his office to find the chief of police there, played by Fulci himself. The chief tells him to give everyone the impression that the department is on top of it, and not to jump to any conclusions about it being a serial killer. The detective hires a psychology professor to assist.

The killer continues to target attractive women, and taunts the detective with his phone calls, where he always quacks like a duck.

Scoop's notes:

Tuna and I use the term "giallo films" quite often. What does it mean?

Giallo is Italian for yellow. Just after WWII, the most common trashy crime thrillers in Italy were paperbacks with yellow covers. The books became known as giallos. This book market would be the equivalent to the sensationalistic "pulp fiction" in the USA in the 20's and 30's. As more and more Italian films were made based on this same kind of material, the films inherited the same name. The heyday of the giallo films was in the period from the late sixties to the late seventies, but the output continues in dribs and drabs to this day.

They are considered a sub-genre of horror films by many, but they are more accurately classified as an explicit subset of crime films. They rarely employ supernatural elements. They are horror films only in the same sense that Hitchcock's Psycho is a horror film. The horror is psychological - usually involving an insane slasher with a weapon that digs into human flesh.

The genre is defined by the graphic and sensationalistic portrayal of violent crime and sexuality, as well as highly stylized visual and musical flourishes, all meant to shock and/or arouse the viewer. Other commonplace elements include insanity, surrealism, sexual fetishes, drug abuse, and generally amoral behavior. The major directors in this genre are, of course, Italians: Argento, Bava senior and junior, Fulci.

The closest America has ever come to the giallo spirit are the films Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and Basic Instinct. These films, however concentrate more on the mind of the killer and the hunt for the killer than they do on the explicit and shocking portrayal of the actual violent acts. Americans generally have no taste for the graphic violence and mutilations portrayed in Italian genre films. In fact, the giallo films are not the only Italian specialty films to explore splatter. The notorious Italian jungle films often feature graphic torture and cannibalism scenes.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 31/100

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. This is an accessible giallo that will keep you guessing to the end, and Fulci masterfully builds suspense in several scenes. If you are looking for gore and nudity, and only want to see one giallo, this is a very good choice. The Danish DVD also has plenty of special features.

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