October 17, 2015

Lucio Fulci is Rated X: New York Ripper

There is something to be said for this movie: the soundtrack is phenomenal.

Usually when I write movies up I try to stay on the positive side. I'll include “things to look a way for” if there's gross spots in otherwise redeemable movies, I'll even write from the perspective of the people who enjoyed the movie if I straight up hate something. But there is a certain sub-set of movies that I can't do that for, the glorified-misogyny genre. If we lived in a world where women on film were as varied and nuanced as the men were [specifically white men, but I digress], maybe I'd feel differently about these kinds of movies.

But that's not the world we live in.

Though, as we've learned here at Tape Freaks, even the worst movie has something redeeming to offer the world of cinema, and New York Ripper's offering of redemption lies in the soundtrack. Francessco De Masi's score to this film has been one of my favorite albums for quite sometime. But I'll try my best to tell you why this movie gets a flat zero from me before I get into the soundtrack...

The plot unfolds something like this: In a version of New York City where women are hyper-sexual, and are routinely brutalized, a serial killer is on the loose. He's hunting down women and killing them in the most violent ways, all while talking like Donald Duck.

No really: The killer talks like Donald Duck through the whole movie.

Reasons to watch: The soundtrack is amazing, and that Donald Duck thing is pretty weird...

Reasons not to watch: Continuous, gratuitous, and pointless violence against women veiled by a thin and boring plot. If this movie existed in a world where women were given equal representation on film and behind the camera , or weren't blamed for violence committed against them, or weren't sexually brutalized in film and television for the absolutely flimsiest of reasons, then maybe this movie would have a justifiable place in cinema history. But we don't live in that world, we live in a world that treats women like shit and demands they be grateful for the chance to be treated as such. So to this movie, and all movies like it, I say: Fuuuuuuuck ooooooff.

Best description I found of this film: “...essentially a ‘greatest hits’ of sexist splatter effects with Donald Duck quacking away in the background.” - Mondozilla for Horrorpedia

Reasons to find the soundtrack: The New York Ripper soundtrack was in my heavy play rotation long before I saw the movie. The jazzy 80's percussion and brass punctuated by orchestral swells made for excellent bike commute music. When I imagined the movie this music accompanied I could see hard-boiled detectives, smoke filled precinct stations, moody city scape, and very likely murders. I certainly did not imagine a straight-up slasher movie, which New York Ripper actually is. (Imagining a cop movie wasn't too out of line though, as those gigs were Masi's bread and butter at the time.) This soundtrack features densely textured instrumentation masterfully layered in every track. I could seriously go on about this album all day long, I encourage you to tack it down and give it a listen!

What to watch instead: Slumber Party Massacre: despite it's name the women in that movie are pretty well rounded characters. It was also written and directed by women. The Beyond: a far superior Fulci movie with extreme gore content. Hard Ticket to Hawaii: not a horror movie, but it features naked women who are more empowered than most clothed women in cinema from the same time period.

Lucio Fulci is Rated X: 
Mon Oct 19 7:00 9:00
Tue Oct 20 7:00 9:00 
Trylon microcinema, tickets $8 (or snag a discount card at $25 for 5 movies!)

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