Oops! It would appear I forgot to post the transcript for this episode!
The To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast Episode 5
Good evening, horror lovers, this is Justin McNamara and is like to welcome you to my 5th episode of The To Watch Pile After Dark, where I’ll be looking at my 47th favourite horror movie of all time.
They say that New York Pizzas are the best in the world, and what better way to celebrate the Italian influence in New York then with this film…
The New York Ripper, known in Italian, and you’ll have to excuse my horrendous attempt at the language, as Lo squartatore di New York tells of grizzled New York policed officer Lieutenant Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) who is in the midst of investigating two murders, one involving the hand of a prostitute found in a park and the other of the murder of a cyclist on a ferry. These murders have two things in common: the victims were beautiful women and witnesses claim the murderer sounded like a duck.
Williams talks to the pathologist, Barry Jones (Giodarno Falzoni) and discovers that there was a murder with similar circumstances the previous month, which leads him to one conclusion: there is a serial killer in New York!
At a press conference he announces his idea but is warned by the police commissioner (Lucio Fulci) that to avoid a city-wide panic, he should avoid further press announcements. He is told that whilst he was at the press conference, a man with ‘a voice like a duck’ had called him.
The man with a voice like a duck continues his campaign of murder, but also terrorises Williams with a series of phone calls and even murders his frequently visited prostitute, Kitty (Daniela Doria) meanwhile, we, the viewers, are subjected to several red herrings and examples of just how sleazy 80s New York was,..
The New York Ripper was directed by Italian horror legend Lucio Fulci, who, after several zombie films, decided to take on a human killer in a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock. Whilst it’s probably not very Hitchcock, it does make an attempt at a New York styled hard-boiled detective story… even emulating the sexism of those pulp stories, though THIS story might seem excessively anti-women, in actual fact, Dardano Sarchetti, co-writer of this film, claimed that all the violence towards women in the tale came from Fulci, himself.
Antonella Fulci, Lucia’s daughter, has claimed that this to be untrue, siting that the killer in this film doesn’t hate women, he hates beauty and his madness has led him to murder only those that are beautiful.
As I researched this film, using everything from Wikipedia to my many horror film related books, I discovered that a film that is so repeatedly described as ‘nasty’, ‘misogynistic’ and ‘excessively violent towards women’ wasn’t one of Britain’s so-called ‘Video Nasties’. Upon further investigation, legend says that it was rejected by the BBFC and director James Fermann demanded it be immediately exported back to the rights-holder in Italy so neither the distributor or the BBFC themselves could be charged with having banned material. Honestly I reckon that sounds like one of those stories that makes the film sound bad and that’s used to expand its notoriety so it becomes the sweetest of forbidden fruit.
As a teen I worked in a video shop on Sunday afternoons, and Fulci’s heavily edited films were always on the cards as a watch. Honestly I don’t think I watched much else other than Fulci zombie films and Dawn of the Dead, and because of this I became a Fulci-phile, but I didn’t get to see this film until I managed to get my hands on an Australian release DVD copy from Stomp in about 2005, and I loved the sleazy griminess if it immediately. I then bought the Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD and was pretty upset to find it was cut, but I then bought it again when they rereleased it in a less cut version, and then a third time from them on Bluray.
I appreciate it’s not for everyone and the first time I watched it I was stunned by how raw it is. It’s like a Giallo, which is probably my favourite type of film, but rubbed in the dirt. The story is well below average, and the concept of a killer who ‘sounds like a duck’… well, I’m sorry, but ducks don’t speak, and I guess it was too difficult to get permission to have the characters say ‘talks like Donald Duck’.
The litigation fingers of the House of Mouse are looooooooong.
Apparently Fulci once told his daughter that the reason he chose the voice of Donald Duck is that Mickey Mouse was too law-abiding.
So why is this film particularly in my top 50? It is a combination of a love for Fulci… even his worst films are better than a lot of so-called A movies, well, they are certainly far more interesting… a love of Giallo, no matter how bad and a love of American slashers, which I feel this lends itself a lot to.
Thank you for joining me for this episode of the To-Watch Pile After Dark. Please, subscribe and give me a five star rating, and also check out my movie review blog at www.towatchpile.com and listen my my other podcast, The Nerds of Oz.
Until next episode…