The New York Ripper appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not gorgeous, the image looked good given its age and origins.
Overall sharpness seemed positive. A smidgen of softness interfered at times – mainly in low-lit interiors – most of the image offered pretty nice clarity and delineation.
I noticed no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. With light grain throughout the film, I didn’t suspect any problematic digital noise reduction. Occasional gate hairs cropped up, but otherwise, the movie lacked source defects.
Colors felt good, as the image tended toward a lot of primary tones. These came across as fairly full and well-rendered.
Blacks came across as pretty dark and tight, while shadows were generally smooth. Some low-light shots could become too thick, but most offered appeaing clarity. A product of its time, this was a more than watchable image.
Given that Ripper exists as an Italian production, one would view its Italian soundtrack as the way to go. However, I don’t feel that way in this case. Though the film used actors of varying nationalities, it clearly asked them to speak English dialogue.
Despite that, the Italian track counts as the “original” because the movie’s initial release occurred in Italy and used that audio. The Blu-ray includes both Italian and English mixes, and normally I go with “original”, but in this case I favored the English track.
I did so simply because it matched the dialogue. Since the actors spoke the lines in English, this made it the logical choice, especially because speech lined up with lip movements better.
However, even in that regard, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 track faltered due to the nature of the source. As mentioned earlier, like most Italian productions, all the dialogue got looped in post-production – and looped poorly in this case, as the lines often don’t match mouth movements especially well.
The dubbed nature of the speech meant lackluster quality as well. The lines tended to be rough and reedy, without natural tones. I could understand the dialogue but it still didn’t sound good.
For the 7.1 mix, effects seemed adequate. They lacked great range and impact, but they showed reasonable reproduction for the most part.
Music worked fine, as the score seemed satisfactory. I couldn’t claim these elements displayed terrific qualities, but they became the best aspect of the mix.
As for the soundscape, it used the various channels in a manner that emphasized the forward speakers. In particular, music focused on the front, where the score offered decent stereo spread.
Effects broadened in a passable manner, though they tended toward general atmosphere. Many of these elements concentrated on the front center, so they used the side and rear speakers in a modest way. All of this added to a decent mix for its age.
This package comes with a slew of extras, and we start with an audio commentary from film historian Troy Howarth. He provides a running, screen-specific look at aspects of director Lucio Fulci’s career as well as cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography, story/characters, music, and anecdotes related to the production.
The author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci And His Films, Howarth brings us a lively, engaging commentary. He relates a slew of good details about the film and makes this a solid view of the production.
Eight featurettes follow, and these launch with The Art of Killing, a 29-minute, 14-second chat with co-writer Dardano Sacchetti. He discusses his collaboration with Fulci as well as the story/screenplay and production elements. Sacchetti provides a lively, informative chat.
Next comes Three Fingers of Violence, a 15-minute, eight-second interview with actor Howard Ross. He covers his performance and experiences during the shoot. Ross gives us a nice collection of thoughts.
With The Second Victim, we locate a 12-minute, 14-second conversation that features actor Cinzia de Ponti. She gives her notes about Fulci and her time on the film. Though she played a limited role, de Ponti provides a good take on the topics.
Another actor shows up via The Broken Bottle Murder, a nine-minute, 24-second segment with Zora Kerova. She talks about how she came to the production and aspects of her performance. Given that Kerova’s role is to have explicit sex on stage and then die, she comes with an unusual perspective on the production, and she brings some insights.
Kerova appears circa 2009 in I’m an Actress, a nine-minute, 30-second chat. Here she relates her thoughts about the same subjects in the prior featurette. Kerova manages enough alternate notes to make this piece worth a look.
Film historian Stephen Thrower comes to the fore in The Beauty Killer, a 22-minute, 34-second piece. He looks at genre/era considerations as well as aspects of the Ripper production and its reception. Thrower offers a pretty good overview of the subject matter.
Paint Me Blood Red goes for 17 minutes, 14 seconds and features poster artist Enzo Sciotti. As expected, he discusses his career and the film’s advertising art. Sciotti offers a useful take on his domain.
Finally, we go to NYC Locations Then and Now, a four-minute, eight-second featurette. It simply shows images of the movie’s locations circa 1981 and “today” – or 2009, when the program was created. It’s a decent way to compare the changes in NYC.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a Poster and Still Gallery. It includes 67 images that show various ads and video packaging. It becomes a good compilation.
A second disc offers a DVD copy of Ripper. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
A third disc provides a CD soundtrack for Ripper. It lasts a full 70 minutes and adds a nice bonus for fans.
Finally, the package concludes with a booklet. It presents photos, credits and an essay from Travis Crawford. The booklet finishes the set on a positive note.
Fans of gratuitous sex and violence may enjoy The New York Ripper, but the film offers nothing else. It barely cobbles together a plot and becomes a nearly random collection of scenes in search of a narrative. The Blu-ray provides generally good picture and audio as well as a nice collection of bonus materials. Genre aficionados will appreciate this release but the movie does nothing for me.