42nd Street Cinema

New Year's Sleaze

So I spent New Years Eve-Early Morning watching Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper (1982), Bo Arne Vibenius' Thriller - A Cruel Picture (1974) and William Lustig's Maniac (1980). I admit it's a sleazy way to enter 2009 but can you blame me?

For the double bill of Fulci and Vibenius I was not alone. I was accompanied by Ben and the trusty concubine Carla.
Before we began the viewing I had previously seen both of these films, promising not to ruin the red herrings of New York Ripper, we popped the DVD in. From the opening shot of the harbor my immediate thoughts were "They are going to think this is so cheesy". They would be right...It is a cheesy film, doesn't mean it's bad.

So we all came to the conclusion that New York Ripper is a pretty damn sleazy film. I don't know if there is any need to go into great detail as I would make an extreme guess that most of you reading this have already seen it. What with it's showcasing of live sex shows and brutal slayings of women. In head I began to think about Fulci and his apparent hatred towards women and then relating it to this film. My conclusion was that most if not all the women in New York Ripper are portrayed as prostitutes or just generally promiscuous, what with one woman getting 'toe fucked' under a table in a greasy diner. Then 'offing' them in a gruesome fashion by some serial killer who makes noises like a duck, with one particular scene involving a nipple being split in two with a razor blade.

Once the credits began to roll, I immediately turned to Carla asking her how some of the scenes made her feel. She responded by saying 'Uncomfortable' when asked why, she said "It made me feel that way because I'm a woman. It made me feel worthless and cheap, seeing women being treated that way is a loss of dignity". A fair point which many would accept. Interesting as this can be praise to Fulci's film making skills. Unfortunately Ben was too baked to comment, offering a inaudible mumble of "Yeashhggoohud".

Taking a slight break, swapping discs, and refill my glass of cola (I don't drink alcohol). We jump straight into Bo Arne Vibenius' gritty Thriller - A Cruel Picture.
Going into this one I had seen it previously, neither Ben or Carla had. Before you wonder which version we are watching it is the full uncut version with the hardcore inserts. They were bound to enjoy it. This being one of the best revenge movies I have ever seen I wanted to know Ben and Carla's thoughts. The basic plot is about a girl who was sexually molested at a young age turning her into a mute is taken by a pimp, pumped with drugs so she can't escape and is forced into being a prostitute. However she takes the money she earns as a hooker to pay for weapons training, martial arts training and to drive a car so she can enact her well earned revenge. This film is known for a few reasons; the infamous 'real corpse' eye ball scene and the numerous hardcore porn inserts. One thing I personally love about this film is the slow motion sequences during One Eye's revenge. Considering Bo Arne Vibenius only directed this and one other film the cinematography and direction in this film is outstanding. Only hampered by slightly below average acting, though not on Christina Lindberg's part as she has no actual lines.
--Spoiler ALERT--
After getting the ultimate revenge and finally killing the man who forced her into prostitution by placing him in a hole the ground up to his neck, tying a noose round it and attaching it too a horse which has a bowl of water in front of it. A killing that sounds like a cruel game of 'Mouse Trap'.
The credits roll. Ben thought of this film as pure trash but enjoyed the porno segments and gruesome deaths. Carla had a similar feeling towards this as New York Ripper. Noting the degradation of women in 'trashy cinema'.

By this time it was getting late. We called it a night and got some shut eye. Waking up at 10:20am me and Carla decided to head back to mine.
Having Lustig's Maniac left over there was only one option. To watch and love it. For me to re-watch it and continue to love every moment of it.
Out of all the slasher films I have seen and I've seen a lot. This is by far my favourite and probably the best. It has everything, a lovable killer, gory kills and a great location.
William Lustig does a grand job of capturing late 1970's early 1980's New York.
Colour themes in this film are clear influences from Dario Argento's Suspiria and Profondo Rosso.
The plot basically revolves around a man who suffered severe abuse as a child from his mother. Giving him this urge to kill certain women. As a viewer you observe 'Frank Zito' change from being an ordinary guy to a...well...a maniac. He is able to form a relationship with a photographer, while brutally slay other females.
Joe Spinell's performance is simply amazing, brilliantly and chillingly his character to life. As his character evolves his behaviour becomes much more frantic and erratic. His urge to kill becoming harder and harder to control.

I could tell Carla enjoyed this movie more than the previous too. It it's still a pretty scummy film but in comparison to the others for sheer nastiness it doesn't quite match up.

So that's it for my New Year. With it I bring my new blog and a return to the blogging scene.


Nigel M said...

Interesting comments from Carla there regarding Thriller-

"Noting the degradation of women in 'trashy cinema'."

I saw Frigga in One Eye as anything but degraded- following her abuse as a a child she turns the tables on abusive men (and women). If anyone comes out of One Eye abused it is the assorted pimps, Johns and lowlifes.

Nigel M said...

that should read-

If anyone comes out of One Eye degraded it is the assorted pimps, Johns and lowlifes.

James said...

I think it was the exploitation of women she was getting at, how Frigga was taken and then basically used as a fuck doll. She liked the revenge part.

Nigel M said...

Yeah I get what you are saying- but I guess you can't have one without the other- without the revenge set up Frigga would be simply a serial killer.

I am not 100% but I saw it as a girl whom was abused as a child when she was weak and unable to defend herself. When she is in a parallel situation years later says fuck that! leans karate and guns and cars and makes sure that she was never going to be in that situation again.

As an addition- no ones saves frigga except frigga herself, she is the hero of the piece.

That said I suppose I get where Carla is coming from on this but there are (as you know) far worse titles than this one for this kind of thing- how about straw dogs where a rape becomes an offensive act against a husband who seeks revenge on behalf of wife- in that movie she is not only the victim of rape but also property that gets damages- dustin's property.

New york ripper is just scuzzy :)

James said...

Yeah it's a slimy film. I spit on your grave is a good un too for revenge, very similar plots.
Me and Carla watched Cannibal Holocaust the other week. Might write about that.

Nigel M said...

look forward to reading that! I am always interested to hear reactions to that film :)

Unknown said...

James i think your brilliant at your wording of things.
I could never say things properly without your help.
I do enjoy your sleazy films, even when there aimed at abusing women in some way or another.
But we always get sweet revenge :P
(most of the time)
I loved the bit where I think its one eye like shoots a man in the genitals (:

love you (:

keep up the great writing!
(and i'll practice (: )

Nigel M said...

So you going to start writing about films then Carla? I think it would be interesting to read both your opinions on James totally insane film tastes.

James said...

I'm hoping Carla will get into it. I was self concious about people reading what I write. But when you get some good feedback it puts your mind at ease. Plus I've said if she gets stuck with words she can always ask me for help. It's not like she will be alone in all of this. I'll talk to her more about it, it is something definitely  worth experimenting with though.

Phil Neglected said...

Very good reviews. All three films are incredible examples of what misogyny IS. They are not necessarily films that hate women in and of themselves. I mean, who could actually love Frank of "Maniac"? Both he and hte killler in "NY Ripper" are delusional paranoid schizos who view women in all the wrong ways. Does that make us sick for watching the movies? Maybe a little, but so what. This is trash, not art.
Speaking of which, I have started a blog called "Grim Horror" (at blogspot). Check it out for reviews of Jess Franco, Mario Bianchi, Joe D'Amato and others...

Keith said...

It sounds like a great way to me to start off 2009.

© John Warwick Arden said...

Don't forget 'Strip Nude For Your Killer'...For moi, that and 'New York Ripper' make a great double. Many dismiss the former in favour of the latter for some reason- I don't see why. I can't get a struck match between them; as the Duke said, 'I'd hate to have to live of the difference'. I think they are both equally trashy, sleazy and fun. And I believe the Dalai Lama is on record as being a huge fan of both. Or not.

James said...

Strip Nude For Your Killer is equally as sleazy granted. It could be up for a double billing with something else...any recommendations?

deaththrasherlou 1983 said...

The best from 42nd are maniac,basket case,prowler and any troma film or kung fu I am 28 we need to get 42nd street and new york back to when it was for the people

deaththrasherlou 1983 said...

also check out mothers day(troma) and I spit on your grave (70's version)

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