Cast: Jack Hedley, Almanta Keller, Howard Ross, Andrew Painter, Alexandra Delli Colli
Extras: Interview, Location comparison, Theatrical Trailer
To most people, Italian director Lucio Fulci is probably best know for the zombie movies he created during the heydays of the 70s zombie craze. The films quickly turned to cult favorites for their excessive display of violence, Fulci's almost surreal sense of plotting and the otherworldly, haunting music. As the zombies died off, Fulci went on to other film projects and returned to crime thrillers, a genre he had been successfully working before, only this time he brought with him all the graphic violence and bag of tricks he learned from his horror movies. The result was "The New York Ripper," a murder mystery that is every bit as gory as it is European.
"The New York Ripper" is the story of a savage serial killer on the loose in the Big Apple. Picking women at random, it seems, the killer mutilates and cuts open these women in the most violent fashion imaginable. Without a proper motive, Lt. Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) doesn't have a lot to go on so he turns to a psychiatrist for an analysis of the man he is looking for. Slowly he manages to zone in on the psychopath until the ultimate showdown, but a lot of innocent young women pay the price before the end.
Lucio Fulci's most savage thriller has arrived in high definition courtesy of Blue Underground, and I have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the image quality the studio puts forth here. Shot hastily on a small budget, squeezing the most out of the expensive film stock, "The New York Ripper" was never destined to be a great-looking film. Its strengths came out of the camera work, the gritty look and the excessive gore, of course. With that in mind, suddenly the movie jumps to the screen with merely a mark or scratch and only very little grain to boot with. In fact, the image is stable and clean throughout, giving the film the presentation it deserved for so long. Rich in colors, high in detail, and with deep, solid back levels, "The New York Ripper" is a splendid example how even an Italian cult movie can be brought to magnificence in the right hands.
The movie comes with a 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio track in English as well as the original mono track. The surround remix gives the film a sense of increased realism, as the sound effects create a more lively and active sound field, that emerges the viewer. It carries a synth soundtrack of the kind that has become so typical for Fulci's films, and manages to nicely recreate the 80s feel of the mean streets of New York City.
As extras you will find an interview with Zora Kerova on the disc, entitled "I'm an Actress!" in which the actress discusses her roles in European films in which she typically played mostly the sexy, barely dressed damsel in distress.
Also included is a look at the NYC locations of the movie now and then, giving you an idea just how much New York has changed over the years.
The release is rounded out by the film's theatrical trailer.
For fans of Lucio Fulci's body of work, this Blu-Ray Disc is a true revelation in its quality and improves vastly upon the previous DVD release. But also if you would like to take a look into ferocious European thrillers for the first time, this disc is a great release that should not be missed. Now, if you gentlemen would please go to work on Fulci's zombie films in high definition also…