A viewing of Lucio Fulci’s scandalous The New York Ripper has almost become something of a rites of passage for horror fans looking too experience the more extreme and unpleasant end of the spectrum. It wields a strange repulsive fascination not dissimilar to controversial ‘Video Nasties’ such as Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978); to see them, and to own them in uncut prints, is seen as something of a badge of honour in some quarters. Fortunately such juvenilia are not to be found on these pages, and my encounter with this repugnant artefact came as a result of a piece of research into British film censorship. It’s not a film I would watch by choice, but then who would? Although it is often situated within the giallo cycle I find this position to be nominal at best. By 1982 the giallo was no longer a major force of influence within the horror genre, if anything gialli were absorbing influences from elsewhere; most notably from the American slasher film. A reversal of positions as it was, and one which would have a damaging effect on the giallo as films increasingly took on the appearance of cut rate slasher flicks. The New York Ripper is a very good example of this trend. Its prevailing influence was William Lustig’s squalid Maniac (1980) rather than The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) or Deep Red (1975).
© Shaun Anderson 2012