Welcome my friends to Chiller Classics, where I Charles Bartholomew Boonsweet take you on a trip to the olden, sometimes golden, days of horror. Hopefully I will introduce you to some fine genre flicks you may not have heard of, either because of how old they are or how obscure, and break down some gory, chill filled, education in Horror History 101. And for those of you who are already well versed in the "good ol' days" of horror, hopefully this will help bring back some nostalgic memories and maybe entice you to see some of these classics again.
Before I get into my full classic horror swagger... (I refuse to at any point short form that word in "Swag" for reasons of my own) I thought I would provide you with an out. If you are a fan of all things horror... well heck that is probably why you are here reading this column in my awesome (though admittedly not as frequent) blog. However, this film here... these film here is only for those that like there films as twisted as heck... like there violence non CGI, the people that still stand to attention when names like "Tom Savini" are mentioned... and most importantly, this film is for those that don't mind their 80s horror a little silly... Ok. Still here. Cool.
So The New York Ripper was made in the midst of the first slasher film boom (most consider between 1980-1984). How this film is not more well known, or even the director's best known I am not sure. All I can surmise is the Donald Duck voice... yes... we'll get to that.
Your story goes a killer is stalking the New York streets (was this shot in new york, I doubt it, but I do not feel like Wiki'ing that up, so you can if you wants to). Armed with a knife and some gritty great camerawork he viciously, carves up unsuspecting beauties.
That's it. Thats your plot. Need more? Why? This is 2015. Ain't no horror films getting oscar nods in 82, and if their were they sure as shit were no where near this flick. Lucio Fulci, infamous for his Zombie films, and early horror work... I believe he is revered to as the "Godfather of Gore". Warranted. His films, House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, and the near legendary Zombi (his Italian rip off/sequel to, Dawn of the dead), all have huge followings. Super bluray releases this side of the atlantic and the other... and there are some classics in there... but nothing, for me anyway, comes close to this here brutal slasher.
To me Italian cinema was about 2 things... excess, and cheap rip offs. Sure there is more to it than that... but during the 70s and especially 80s they saw something successful in the states, it was getting a blood soaked italian version. Here I think Fulci was like... "Hmmm so slashers are big in the states. Look at this friday the 13th, and Bloody Valentine... so they want tons of violence and some sex. So Boobs and Blood... well hell, why don't we give them X rated levels of both. Boom, I am Fulci, GENNNNNNIUUUUS!"
This film is without a doubt in the top 3 for most violent films of all time. Now there are films you could throw at me if you wanna have a hardcore horror throw down, things like Guinea Pig, and such, but those are films just for the sake of violence. This is a real movie, with actors, and plot, and you know... movie stuff... and yet they pack in several of the most violent acts I have ever seen in a horror flick (nipple slice by razor anyone). On top of that they cram pretty much X rated amounts of sex and nudity in this bad boy. I can only imagine how this film played during the 80s when the censors got hold of it... there would basically be the opening credits... a couple conversations, and closing credits.
So yes I loved it.
Fluke might not get the credit he deserves, often his films falling in the "Gore Good" category... but he was a talented director. His eye for atmosphere, and building a horror scene, can not be underestimated. And that... that dear Booniacs... is where we have a problem. This film, despite the gore, and sex, could have actually managed to be quite good. The store is fun, the acting is above par... and with a quality director in the drivers seat... however... (deep breath) someone decided it would be a great idea... to have the killer use a ridiculous "Donald Duck" voice, when calling to terrorize victims and cops...
What?! I mean maybe Fulci was over there in italy watching a disney short and thought... my god this cartoon Duck creature terrifies me, I must use this! Seriously, what the hell?! Who thought this was scary. It turns what could have been an expertly handled decent into sleeze and horror... into something that can only be appreciated as silly fun.
The story gets pointlessly complicated with sick children and role reversals haha, but hell, I could take all that in stride if it was not for that damned duck voice. But hey, maybe thats part of its charm, the reason it is slowly building that following.
Dammit though I still enjoyed it. And when you consider that in many countries this film still remains unreleased or cut... that is saying something in our current uncut loving universe.
If you want to see a film that actually deserved the "Video Nasties" witch hunt of the 80s this is it. Wow was this a blood soaked good time.
But you have been warned... Duck voice... Sigh.
Horror Scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Movoe scale 3 out of 5 stars (because as artistic evidence of the freedom of the 80s this is must watch, but it should almost be a 2.5 with that damned voice)
One line review: Seriously, seriously F'd up... the F is for Fun.
Also you might have noticed I have not included my usual levels of photographic humour... well, honestly I try to keep this here blog mostly every one friendly... and it was just too much effort to find a cool scene in this film that was not nudity filled. No joke.
Well.... this concludes my film rant adventures for this here day. Be well. Be summer. Be friendly. Be awesome.
- C. Boonsweet.