Sexual Sadism in the Big Apple

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For YEARS, i had Maniac, and The New York Ripper confused, even so far as to think they were the same film. I think it is very likely that Maniac played a very influential role in the crafting of Ripper, and it doesn’t take a genius to see the similarities. Both were made only a few years apart, both track the brutal murders of a Serial Killer in New York who targets women, both are dripping with gore, and ruffled quite a few feathers in their time. The biggest difference is that while Maniac is a film where we know who the killer is, The New York Ripper allows us to immerse ourselves in the role of the killer, in effect to BE the killer, at least until the mystery is solved and his identity is revealed. We follow the exploits of the Ripper as he dispatches his victims with extreme sexual sadism. Broken bottles rammed into genitals, nipples sliced in half with razor blades, and a killer who speaks like a deranged Donald Duck. Wait…What?

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Eventually we learn why the killer quacks…sort of…but not without doing, what I feel, is irreparable damage to the film. If you remove the Duck-Voice element, what you have is a seedy, tense, erotic, and most of all violent film that retains the artistic cinematography and plotting of Italian cinema. A perverse snapshot of the seedy Underbelly of New York in the early 80’s. The film already had a built in audience with the Grindhouses of 42nd street, and likely would have broken through to the mainstream in time. But they had to do that damn quacking…It makes what we are watching immediately feel like a joke, and removes any of the impact of the film. All we are left with is over the top sexualized violence, and cheesy duck noise. The killer’s motivations are revealed to actually be somewhat profound, and even play into the closing scene where a terminally ill child calls her father(the killer) on the phone. She’s begging  for him to pick up, she misses him so very much…she NEEDS to speak to her Daddy…but her Daddy has been killed, and she’ll never speak to him again. This emotional scene should have had huge impact on the audience, but it’s all but forgotten by most. The Duck Quacking stopped us from caring. If you pay attention to the film, the Killer is anything but misogynistic, but…*quack-quack*…and people stopped caring. All that stuck with them was the quacking, and this image

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Now, after reading my review, you may think I disliked this film, but that is not the case. I love this film! I wish more people knew about it and got to enjoy the insanity of this early 80’s masterpiece. It’s just that fucking Duck Voice. It feels like a slap in the face. I need a drink…

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