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.

IMG_20151108_014759~2

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

Locations in Mark Samuels’ In the Face of Twilight

Mark Samuels’ bleak novella of urban horror, In the Face of Twilight, is set in London. Living in London, and being somewhat familiar with the settings in this story, this created a unique opportunity to see what places in his book actually do exist.

What follows is a selection of photos taken of locations that feature in In the Face of Twilight. Although some of the names of the real locations may be different from the story, based on all information given in the book, I am confident that these are the places that were portrayed.

‘Ivan Gilman had little choice when it came to deciding to rent the studio flat on the Archway Road.’ [page 3]

‘No more than twenty paces from his front door, the Rochester pub occupied the northern corners just south of his new flat.’ [page 6]

A luxuriant array of plants and flowers hung in the baskets around the walls and along the fire escape which one had to descend to reach the courtyard.’ [page 12]

‘He had also developed a strange fascination with nearby Archway Bridge’. [page 15]

‘The first portion of the approach ritual required him to begin from Archway Underground station.’ [page 18]

‘It was first required that one contemplated the Archway Tower, a great black monolith that had gone up in the 1970s above the Underground Station.’ [page 18]

‘Gilman trudged up Highgate Hill, passed ….., and the great eponymous hospital on the hill.  [page 19]

‘… this time on the approach to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Its great green dome dominated the skyline,…’ [page 19]

‘In front of the church building was a statue of the Saint,…’ [page 19]

‘As he forced himself up Swains Lane he could almost believe that he was in some remote part of the countryside.’ [page 20]

‘To Gilman’s right was the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, a two storey whitewashed Georgian Building.’ [page 20]

‘Now, once Gilman stood within Pond Square itself, the spire of the television mast that was his destination was clearly visible.’ [page 20]


‘He took shelter in the middle of the square underneath the overhanging roof of an abandoned public lavatory. ‘ [page 21]

‘He decided to make his way to the Sceptre Tavern in darkest Holborn.’ [page 27]

‘After a minute or so he saw the archway with the sign, just before Holborn Circus. It was fixed on a Victorian street lamp that had been converted to run off electricity instead of gas, and it read “The Sceptre Tavern”.’ [page 28]

‘Just around the corner, under a low doorway, was a snuggery bearing the legend “Ye Closet” in which Gilman’s crowd met.’ [page28]

‘Gilman looked west; to his left were the tottering Tudor buildings that had lasted for hundreds of years…’ [page 53]

‘The train drew to a halt at Goodge Street Station,…’ [page 70]

‘Gilman found himself on Malet Street and saw that the book emporium on the corner with Gower Street was open for business.’ [page 84]

‘Gilman was amazed and terrified when the bus drew alongside what had formerly been the disused Underground station York Road,….’ [page 104 /105]

‘Although at first bewildered, he quickly realised that he had somehow staggered into the old West section of Highgate Cemetery after last night’s debauch.’ [page115/116]