Don't accept rides from anyone with two fingers missing on his right hand, okay?
A serial killer is on the loose in New York City and Lt. Frank Williams (Jack Hedley) is on the case. The victims are all beautiful young women, but that seems to be the only factor they have in common. As the bodies pile up in the morgue, the killer grows bolder, calling Lt. Williams before each murder and taunting him with a squeaky Donald Duck voice and quacking noises. Could the deranged killer be Mickey Scellenda (Howard Ross), a brooding eight-fingered man? Could it be jealous husband Dr. Lodge (Cosimo Cinieri)? With the help of psychology professor Dr. Paul Davis (Paolo Malco), Lt. Williams must find the answers before the duck-voiced killer strikes again!
New York Ripper isn't Lucio Fulci's best movie (that would be supernatural thriller L'Aldila), it's not his best giallo (that would be Perversion Story) and it's not the most fun to watch (that would be Murder Rock), but it's the Fulci-est Fulci movie ever, featuring all his signature moves: beautiful women in mortal jeopardy, lots of blood, close-up gore, zoom-ins on peoples' eyes, the killer's POV, Donald Duck, creepy and inappropriate sexual encounters, eyeball injuries, a gritty setting, helpless police, and a plot that hinges on a childhood trauma. This movie was made at a time when traditional gialli were being eclipsed in popularity by slasher films and Fulci gives his audience what they want, with slow-motion, blood-soaked shots of razors cutting off a woman's nipple and slicing through her eyeball. The plot may not make sense, but gore fans will cheer.
- The movie starts with a standard Law & Order opening. A man is going about his day, walking his dog along the river when he stumbles across the first body.
- Fulci makes a cameo as Lt. Williams' police chief.
- There's a scene of a cool radio DJ warning people about the killer on the loose between songs and asking him to "leave those ladies alone." The way it's shot and acted, it seems to be an obvious homage to the DJ in The Warriors.
- Fulci also seems to be paying homage to Bava and Argento when he lights the third murder scene in saturated greens and reds.
- Killer's POV is a pretty standard giallo move, but I can't recall seeing Police POV before New York Ripper.
- You may remember Andrea Occhipinti from his starring role in the great Blade in the Dark.
What the Hell am I Watching?
In a weird subplot, Jane Lodge (Alexandra Delli Colli) keeps getting herself into more and more dangerous sexual situations, recording them on a mini tape player, and giving them to her husband to listen to. She doesn't seem to enjoy doing it, and it's implied that she's making the tapes to aid her husband's sexual disfunction. In the weirdest and most disturbing scene, she flirts with and is assaulted by two guys in a pool hall.
There's not a great shot of it, but I love Fay's (Almanta Suska) white cashmere scarf and the way it's elegantly draped over her shoulder in the subway scene. Great hair, too.