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Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE NEW YORK RIPPER

the new york ripper review
Lucio Fulci's sleazy thriller comes to 4K UHD.


Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Lucio Fulci

Starring: Jack Hedley, Howard Ross, Andrew Painter, Almanta Keller

the new york ripper 4k uhd

2020 is a dumpster fire of a year but at least we’ve gotten some first-rate home video releases. Blue Underground has gotten into the UHD game, first with Zombie (1979) and Maniac (1980) in May of this year and now, two more releases, House by the Cemetery (1981), and the film I am going to discuss, The New York Ripper (1982), have hit the market.

the new york ripper review

A detective is on the hunt for a vicious killer who is stalking women in the Big Apple. This killer just so happens to disguise his voice as a duck, similar to a famous cartoon character, because why not?

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Gore films rarely get as vicious or as brutal as Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper. When people unfairly go after Fulci for being a misogynist, it’s typically Ripper that they cite as example A. Honestly, it's not hard to see this, as Fulci doesn’t just kill his women in this film, he degrades and brutalises them in deeply personal ways. It’s hard to argue that the film isn't nasty in that way but I chock this up to Fulci wanting to push the limits of gore rather than a commentary on his feelings about women.

the new york ripper review

As far as my favourite non-supernatural Fulci film, it would have to be without a doubt this film. As I mentioned, Ripper is infamous for its on-screen violence and it can hold its own against other no-holds barred splatter films like The Untold Story (1993) or Men Behind the Sun (1988). For me, what puts the brutality over-the-top is the level of pure hatred the killer inflicts on his victims. It’s why I think it’s among the most disturbing slashers of the ‘80s.

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But I don’t think its just the intense gore that makes me love the film so. Fulci’s symphony of slaughter is also over-flowing with the kind of perverse sex and just plain bizarre set-pieces that the Italians did so well. Seriously, a thick coat of sleaze coats every inch of this film. The fact that the killer talks like a duck just further pushes this into insanity territory.

the new york ripper review

Story wise, the film is far from perfect and the mystery, and the killer's reveal, could have used building upon. But honestly, the film is more about this unnerving surrealist nightmare and, like most Fulci, the logic isn’t as important as the mood it crafts. That may be a lame way to excuse narrative short-comings but I think that style-over-substance is a valid form of storytelling if done correctly. Lucio swings for the fences and the film gleefully pushes boundaries in a way that is refreshing and unsettling in equal measures. The film doesn’t just cross the line but jumps over it while flipping the middle finger. Not for the squeamish.

UHD: Blue Underground's new UHD print is an incredible achievement. The film is smoother, with a slightly upgraded, sharper picture. Colours really pop as the film has that wonderfully garish look to it. This UHD really celebrates that over-the-top feel that these films were going for. Grain is reduced as hell and the entire film has a more stable colour saturation throughout. Skin tones look natural and you get a lot more detail in the overall picture. You really start to notice the difference in darker scenes, which benefit greatly from this new transfer.

Sound: What blew my mind is how Blue Underground has provided a stunning Dolby ATMOS track for this release. This means a more 3D sound experience for those of you who have a big home theatre sound system. It’s honestly incredible sound wise, and along with the picture makes this worth the upgrade alone. I don’t think a lot of fans were expecting at ATMOS track and I think it's amazing in terms of a more rich and varied sound experience.

Extras: The film ports over all the extras from the previous 3-Disc Limited Edition, except it does not include the CD soundtrack. The extras are as followed:

Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and his Films

The Art of Killing: Interview with Co-writer Dardano Sacchetti

Three Fingers of Violence: Interview with Star Howard Ross

The Second Victim: Interview with Co-star Cinzia de Ponti

The Broken Bottle Murder: Interview with Co-star Zora Kernova

“Im an Actress”: 2009 Interview with Co-star Zora Kernova

The Beauty Killer: Interview with author Stephen Thrower

Paint me Blood Red: Interview with Poster Artist Enzo Sciotti

NYC Locations Then and Now

Theatrical Trailer

Posters and Still Gallery.

This is an excellent array of extras that were ported over from the late 2000s edition and the newer edition released in 2019. The commentary by Troy Howarth is extremely well researched and it’s always staggering the amount of great information he provides. It’s also incredible to have such a wealth of interviews, which goes a long way in making this the definitive edition. But, they don’t stop there, as they also provide a location featurette, which is a fun addition to this disc.

Overall/Final Thoughts: I hear fans complaining that we already got one big edition last year but I think Blue Underground has wisely put out the UHD edition and spent all of their time in providing yet another fantastic transfer with a breath-taking picture and a booming and stunning Dolby ATMOS soundtrack. Yes, it doesn’t have the CD soundtrack, which in a way makes it the perfect companion to the 3-Disc edition. I rarely ever say double dip, but honestly, I think it’s well worth it in this case. If you have a 4K television and player, it's high time to get this fantastic edition.








Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”


His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.