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The Bottom Shelf #107

05.10.2007

Just like all Canadians don't guzzle back maple syrup and chase lustfully after female moose, not all Italians are violent criminals in the mob. Sometimes they're just violent for no good reason at all. This week, I've got a couple prime examples of that.

THE NEW YORK RIPPER (1982)
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Starring: Jack Hedley, Almanta Suska

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As technology has progressed, more and more of the scenes in which gore are employed are done with the aid of CGI, guaranteeing that the actors never have to get as dirty as they did back in the day. What we've ended up doing is desensitizing ourselves to the violence in current, large-budget flicks, looking more for the gaps in the special effects than covering our eyes and shivering like we would when we were impressionable youth, sneaking viewings on late night TV during sleepovers. In 1982 when this movie was first released, filmmakers had to work with fake blood and actors who weren't paid a premium, therefore leaving them to the mercy of actually having to get mussed up. Personally, if I really want to be grossed out these days, I go looking for a film that was made back when I never would have been allowed to watch it.

This film revolves around a serial killer slashing his way through New York, leaving a trail of mutilated beauties in his wake. The cops are stumped as to where to start, other than the strange phone calls that the lead detective receives from someone who sounds more like Donald Duck than Ted Bundy. Some cat and mouse chasing, a few bucketfuls of blood and a healthy heaping of '80's style nudity and sex combined with some lousy dubbing (the film was actually made by an Italian director and cast and while it is apparent that the actors are speaking English in certain scenes, they're still dubbed over with that lovely clunky vocal track that permeates foreign films) give us a movie that should be laughable and instead has a decent punch to it.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of problems with the film. The sex angle really is pushed too hard for the sake of being shocking. However, the scenes where the focus is more on discovering what the killer's motivation is as well as the scenes with the gorgeous Suska as the tough athlete and only woman to escape the killer's wrath provide some depth and appropriate tension. My biggest complaint with the movie is that it takes the cop-out ending and left me slapping my forehead and thinking, "Well, that didn't ruin it at all!" Still, I stand by my assertion that this movie is far more interesting and worth your dollars than a certain sequel coming out this summer which will surely be packed full of Chinese gore. As in you'll be hungry for more a couple hours later. THE NEW YORK RIPPER gives you enough of a gore meal to keep you satisfied for much longer.

Favorite Scene:

Let's just say that it had me grabbing my tits the way that watching a winning entry from America's Home Videos has men grabbing their crotches.

Favorite Line:

"Quack! Quack! Quack!"

Trivia Tidbit:

It's taken over 20 years for the film to pass censorship issues within the UK, having famously been rejected for release back in 1984 and the reels escorted out of the country by police officials.

See if you liked:

THE HILLS HAVE EYES, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, HOSTEL

STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER (1975)
Directed by: Andrea Bianchi
Starring: Nino Castelnuovo, Edwige Fenech

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OK, there's no way around it.... this movie was BAD. However, it's that kind of bad that you can pull a MST3K on. It also is great at demonstrating how Italian women are the hottest babes on the planet, how Italian men are hairy and love speedos, and how Madonna got her inspiration from an actress named Amanda. One name, fake mole and poor acting? Yeah, it had to have come from her. There is something that I just love about being able to watch a movie this bad. Giggling over the silly setups and obvious outcomes, it becomes a treat whereas other films taking themselves seriously can just be snoozers.

Starting off with a bizarre scene that eventually pulls back to reveal that it's an abortion gone wrong, the movie kicks off fast and pointlessly. It then heads directly into the tale of a horny photographer picking up a new model and taking her to the agency he works for. Shortly after all this people begin to turn up dead, all of them connected with the agency in some regard. There are some fun bloody scenes and the title does not let the movie watcher down in its delivery of nudity. It's all female nudity and it's all Italian women, which as I pointed out above, is not a bad thing at all.

I watched this movie in its dubbed version. I'm not sure if I could have gotten it on DVD in its native Italian and I almost think that reading the translations would have taken out the fun of it. Much of what transpires looks too straight forward to be interesting, so the benefit of lines getting possibly flubbed in translation helps to make it more fun. The eagerness of the characters to get naked and have as much sex as possible while a killing spree is going on around them is sheer '70's brilliance. Oh, and have I mentioned how hot the women look nude? Sure, there's supposed to be more from a movie than that, but if you factor in the differences in eras and the hotness of the women, well... you've got yourself a flick that's easy on the eyes and a great laugh.

Favorite Scene:

When the mostly naked and humiliated fat man retreats into the bedroom to fish his blowup doll out of the dresser, proclaiming, "You're the only one who can make it happen."

Favorite Line:

There isn't so much one line that's great, instead there are several short responses from the lead male character that come off hilariously. I'm not certain if that's a script thing or a dubbing thing. Either way, hearing him tell his girlfriend to "shut up" when he's trying to rescue her (amongst other things) cracked me up.

Trivia Tidbit:

Edwige Fenech, the actress who plays Magda, is set to star in the upcoming HOSTEL 2.

See if you liked:

HIGH TENSION, SECRET THINGS, BAISE MOI

While I can't claim to be much more than an ethnic mutt, my last name is Italian. But I promise you're safe around me. As long as you don't criticize my review choices. If you do.... *quacking*

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