De Slachter van New York

In Belgium, Lucio Fulci’s New York Ripper was released as “De Doder van New York” as evidenced by the cover of the VHS tape below (a promotional poster also exists). Multiple sources state that the movie was released in the Netherlands as “De Slachter van New York” but so far I have not seen any evidence of this online; no videocassette covers, no poster or other promotional materials, and a web search produces only a handful of items that do not reveal any more information.

De Doder van New York
This short review (or more aptly, a description) of the New York Ripper in the Dutch newspaper Leidsch Dagblad of December 16, 1983 does use the name “De Slachter van New York” but whether the author refers to the title of the Dutch release is ambiguous.

De Slachter van New York Leidsch Dagblad Dec16 1983

Further complicating matters is this rare, poorly designed, bilingual, poster from Belgium that features “De Ripper of New York” as the title.

new-york-ripper-belgie

Herbert Lieberman and the New York Ripper

The atmospheric opening scene in Lucio Fulci’s nihilistic giallo masterpiece “The New York Ripper” (1982) starts with pan shots of the Manhattan skyline, the East river, and riverside Brooklyn with the urban sounds of traffic and police sirens setting the scene.  An old man is walking his dog along the East River near Manhattan Bridge and starts playing fetch.

new-york-ripper-bridge
A second throw lands the stick into the bushes but the dog returns  with a decomposed hand instead, at which point the frame freezes and the music and opening titles begin.

In 1976 Herbert Lieberman wrote a gritty forensic detective novel named “City of the Dead,” which is set in the same era’s seedy New York City. It is possible that the opening scene in the New York Ripper was inspired by this book. In chapter 10 of “City of the Dead”, Herbert Lieberman writes:

“The guy’s out walkin’ his dog, see? Right along the river. ‘Bout six A.M. The dog’s runnin’ around off the leash, see? And the guy’s just suckin’ up the breeze. Enjoyin’ the sunrise-”
“Skip the poetry, will you, Flynn? Just get on with the details.”
Flynn seems momentarily injured by the Chief’s impatience, but he continues. “Anyway, the guy whistles for Rover. The dog starts runnin’ toward him, see? Tail waggin’. All full of piss and vinegar. Only he’s got a goddamn hand in his mouth.”
“A hand?”
“Yeah – a human hand.”

nyripperbr-01

The cover design, ghoulish female face, and font type of the 1977 paperback edition of “City of the Dead” anticipate another horror movie; George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978). But unlike George Romero’s zombie movie, Lieberman’s book deals with a grotesque murder and the psychological disintegration of New York’s Chief Medical Examiner of New York. This paperback copy was tracked down in Kuala Lumpur’s “Junk Bookstore” in July, 2015.

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Vernacular Aesthetics

“To look through a Becher book is to take a lesson in vernacular aesthetics ; it is to learn to read differences in composition, rhythm and formal solutions where an ordinarily eye would see only indifference and standardisation; it is to derive intense pleasure from your own capacity of discrimination; it is to suffer from your inability to back it up by a technical vocabulary that would make it possible for you to detail a gasometer’s architecture as if it were a cathedral.”

Thierry de Duve, ‘Bernd et Hilla Becher ou la photographie monumentaire’ in Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, no. 39, pp. 118-29.

gasometer

A “dead” audience

“I never fully understood the need for a “live” audience. My music, because of its extreme quietude, would be happiest with a dead one.”

Morton Feldman, Conversations without Stravinsky (London Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 12, March 1967)

Alternative TV – Life

Lyrics

Life’s about as wonderful as a record mart
I don’t like selling albums
But I don’t wanna go to work.
Life’s about as wonderful as a record mart
I haven’t got any money
that’s why I’m selling albums!

Life’s about as wonderful as a cold
Life’s about as wonderful as growing old
Life’s about as wonderful as a tramp lying dead in the road
Life’s about as wonderful…

Life’s about as wonderful as a dole que
I don’t like standing still
With the tramps and layabouts.
Life’s about as wonderful as a dole que
Bit I’ve got no choice
That’s why I’m standing in a que.

Life’s about as wonderful as a cold
Life’s about as wonderful as growing old
Life’s about as wonderful as a tramp lying dead in the road
Life’s about as wonderful…

Life’s about as wonderful as no electricity
I don’t like acoustics
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Life’s about as wonderful as no electricity
I make out it’s poetry
That’s why I’m screamin’ at ya.

Life’s about as wonderful as a cold
Life’s about as wonderful as growing old
Life’s about as wonderful as a tramp lying dead in the road
Life’s about as wonderful…

Life’s about as wonderful

Abandoned stations in Antarctica

Abandoned sites are found in (former) industrial areas, as highlighted in the post on the Monteponi mine in Sardinia and as photographed by Bernd and Hilla Becher, who are famous for their photographs of industrial buildings, or in cities, as highlighted in a previous post about Abandoned London Underground Stations.

And even Antarctica, although sparsely populated, turns out to have its own abandoned stations, including the camp built by Robert Scott and his party on Ross Island in 1911, an actual ghost town at Whaler’s Bay on Deception Island , and abandoned whaling outposts on South Georgia, another Antarctic Island. These abandoned South Pole sites, the  lonely landscapes, the grim sub-zero temperatures, and its Mountains of Madness, can evoke truly fascinating and haunting experiences.

HT Grim Reviews