Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The New York Ripper (1982, Lucio Fulci)


Sure Lucio Fulci has made better and even more violent movies, yet I dug his 1982 giallo style slasher film The New York Ripper. Considering Son of Sam and other serial killers had already happened, a movie about a crazed murderer haunting the city streets was not too outrageous. What I liked best about the killer was that he quacks like a duck the entire movie, a creepy device that Fulci uses to great effect. Also the kills are brutal and sexual, as the killer hates his victims. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, and it’s trashy nature adds to the picture’s grindhouse feel. Hence The New York Ripper being labeled a “Video Nasty,” banned in some countries as a result.

Fred Williams (a grizzled Jack Hedley) is the right main character for this flick, and unfortunately I guessed the killer although the film reveals him early on if one is paying attention. I found a DVD uncensored copy of this film at my local Half-Price Books, and I used it to kick off my Halloween viewing last year. What a flick to start with, and I’ll never hear duck sounds the same way again.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Contamination (1980, Luigi Cozzi)


Even though the 1980 cult horror sci-fi movie Contamination has been called a rip off of Alien, I found it to be more of a lost, more gorier episode of Doctor Who. Particularly since the main enemy had been possessed by an alien species, and that aspect usually formed the basis of many a Doctor Who episode. Even though it’s low budget qualities are obvious, I rather enjoyed Contamination. The Italians and the Germans in the 1970s and 1980s made films that were destined to be grind house style classics beloved by those who journeyed to rundown cinemas to view the latest splatter fest. Now a days they are the kind of movie watched by horror fanatics (myself included) online (in this case, Shudder) or via physical media supplied by companies such as Arrow Bay or Shout! Factory.

Once again Ian McCulloch pops up as the sturdy hero, although in this movie he is more a haunted burnt out astronaut recruited by others to stop the invasion of earth by exploding eggs. Louise Monroe and Martin Mase fill out the rest of the cast, and provide the film with a weak love triangle that it jettisons the moment the film needs more violence. Naturally this movie ended up as a video nasty, which embellished its reputation and caused more people to want to see it, not less. Honestly Contamination is nothing more than a fun movie, although perhaps that is enough in this case, and due to changes in cinema and budgets a film like this wouldn’t be made today. The B-movie is dead, long live the B-movie.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Don’t Go In The Woods (1981, James Bryan)


I never thought I would view a slasher film that is so trashy and bad it makes the Friday the 13th series appear to be cinematic art by comparison. Yet here we are with Don’t Go In The Woods, a really dumb and mostly poorly made excuse for a gore fest that never quite works. Instead James Bryan sets out to show as many horrific killings as possible by some crazed backwoods hillbilly, thus sacrificing everything else. I mean the Friday the 13th series at least had likable people to root for. This film has none of that.

Nope skip this lame flick and watch The Final Terror instead. Or go enjoy a slasher film such as Friday the 13th which is at least fun. Forget not going in the woods, how about not watching this movie? Yet I still viewed it anyways, because it was controversial and I am a sucker for 1980s slasher films. Oh well.

A Brood of Brainwashed Blood Thirsty Killers (Strange Behavior, 1981)


Note: This is a lost Horrorfest review that after some changes and editing I’m presenting to you horror fans:

As much a slasher movie as it is a sci-fi “Science gone amok” movie, the under rated cult film Strange Behavior is a rather odd, and thus stands out from its brethren. By the time of Strange Behavior’s release, slasher movies were a large part of the horror genre and 1980s was about to usher in the sub-genere’s heyday. Created a year after Halloween clone Friday the 13th, Strange Behavior has been somewhat forgotten, perhaps because of its weird plot. Or maybe the numerous slasher movies that followed left more of an impression upon viewers.

Having now seen way more 80s slasher movies since viewing this film, I now realize even more how unique and original this movie really is. Weird experiments taking place at a local college are resulting in the studies’ willing guinea pigs killing people at random. What it all really means is a mystery, however someone is maybe pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

The film’s dreamlike 80s pop style soundtrack, well executed by Tangerine Dream, only makes this movie feel and seem even more bizarre. However the film doesn’t seem to go far enough with its commentary on conformity and leaves behind the science implications in favor of gory yet well crafted terror inspiring moments that really fail to be scary if you have viewed a horror movie before.

What really sticks out in my mind is how the film ends-the last act is really quite unexpected. Considering that it was fairly well made and is clearly smarter than most of the slasher films that followed, Strange Behavior is a rare gem. I thank TCM for airing the movie when they did back in 2010, and I hope that more people get a chance to check out a most welcomed addition to the slasher genre. 82/100

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