Photography by Nicole Weinstock, October 25, 2018
Blue Underground’s excellent 4K restoration of The New York Ripper is a fine opportunity to delve into one of the movie’s rarest memorabilia.
Lucio Fulci’s bleak New York City-based 1982 giallo does not have the fan following, of say, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead or the Star Wars series and the number of memorabilia or new merchandise associated with the movie is rather limited.
There are known to be three Western European sets of lobby cards: German, French, and Italian. There are 16 French lobby cards and 6 Italian photobustas. The German set of lobby cards is the most sought-after as this set consists of 24 lobby cards. Owning the most complete set, however, does not make the others redundant because each features images that are not included in the German set. The Italian photobustas also have a different design and show two images on each lobby card.
Unbeknownst to most giallo and Fulci fanatics, there exists a set of 30 (!) Dutch lobby cards. The Dutch lobby cards are authentic and were made available by the now-bankrupt Dutch film distribution company Concorde Film from Den Haag for the release of the movie.
What is interesting about the New York Ripper lobby cards is that many of them show much wider shots or different angles than seen in the movie. Even more intriguing are the lobby cards that feature set photos, or even takes that were not used in the movie, such as Faye walking around the Prospect Theater area, or Jane wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbows while conversing with her husband. The lobby cards also feature subtle clues about New York locations that are hard to infer from watching the movie.
Photography by Avantika Bawa and Aschwin de Wolf, June 2 and June 3, 2016
One of the more intriguing shots in Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper involves the residence of nymphomaniac Jane Lodge and her husband. A close examination of this scene reveals the distinctive features of the Queensboro Bridge before zooming in on their house. The conjunction of the Queensboro Bridge and the grandeur of their home leave little doubt that their mansion is located in the Sutton Place neighborhood.
Their home at the end of E 58th street, 7 Sutton Square, formerly known as 1 Riverview Terrace, has a long and fascinating history. Unlike many other cities, the New York City waterfront was traditionally not considered a desirable place to live for wealthy people. During the 20th century, however, the neighborhood known as Sutton Place increasingly became an attractive and secluded place to reside. The residences on Riverview Terrace even enjoy a private, gated, waterfront park.
If one would go out and search for the building with its distinctive white brick and lemon shutters that is seen in The New York Ripper, one would have a hard time locating it since the house was restored back to its original red brick colors. Also missing today are the two sea creatures (modeled after the gates within the Giardino di Boboli in Florence, Italy) that sat on top of the entry gates to Riverview Terrace.
The choice of 7 Sutton Square as the couple’s residence in The New York Ripper is suggestive because the decayed and corroded sights of the Queensboro bridge behind it draw attention to the neglected and dangerous New York City that is so prominently featured in Fulci’s American giallo classic.
The Sutton Place neighborhood is no stranger to murder mysteries, as evidenced by the cover of Robert George Dean’s “The Sutton Place Murders”, a novel published in 1936.
“For more than 100,000 years, Homo lycanthropus has lived unobtrusively among human beings. Those whose powers were uncovered were stigmatized as witches, sorcerers, werewolves, and other supernatural beings persecuted down through the ages. The beings have bred with the human race, refining their skills and increasing their numbers, until they have reached the point in evolution where their reemergence is inevitable. That time is now.”
“Throwbacks are born…Not often-so long as nature is left alone. It’s all a matter of probability, and you can see the odds. But every man alive is a carrier, and most throwbacks are only partial. Literally millions of variations are possible between pure Homo sapiens and pure lycanthropus… Those born with a stronger inheritance are usually better aware of their unusual gifts – and more careful to conceal them. In the Middle Ages- so long as the Inquisition kept alive the ancient arts of witch-hunting-they were usually found and burned. Nowadays they fare better. They’re able to realize their gifts, and organize, and plot to regain their lost supremacy…The throwbacks have begun to gather into secret clans. By mating among themselves, they have upset the random odds, and increased the probability of reversion…They are finding the carriers and using the modern science of selective breeding- with doubtless some improvements of their own- to filter out the dominant genes of Homo sapiens and so give birth to this powerful leader they’re waiting for- the monstrous Messiah they call the Child of Night.”
Sam Quain in Darker Than You Think (1948)