A maniac on the loose, terrorising the streets of New York city, is hardly an original concept. However, this particularly gruesome yarn is by Italian gore maestro Lucio Fulci, and so is a far cry from your typical stalk and slash thriller.
The movie opens with the discovery of the decomposed body of a young call girl, whose been carved up and dumped on the banks of the Hudson river. The police investigate, but shortly afterwards another young girl is found brutally murdered on the Stanton Island ferry.
As more badly mutilated bodies pile up, the killer begins phoning the detective in charge, Lt Williams (Jack Hedley), to taunt him, which he finds rather odd as the killer seems to quack like a duck whenever he talks. With no other clues to go on, he enlists the help of psychologist Paul Davis (Paolo Malco), hoping he can shed some light on the case. But he does little to help, apart from spout a lot of confusing psycho-babble.
A breakthrough appears to come when one potential victim, Fay Major's (Almanta Keller), identifies the killer as having 2 finger's missing on his right hand. But despite a massive manhunt, they fail to net him. Who goes on to carve up several more young female victims in graphic detail, which includes a stripper (Zora Kerova) getting a broken bottle jammed into her crotch, a young swinger named Jane (Alexandra Deli Colli) being disembowelled with a knife and the Lt William's girlfriend being sliced up with a razor in slow-mo. Including long lingering shots of the killer dragging the blade across her eyeball and breasts.
Described by Fangoria magazine as "Fulci's sickest ever film" (and that's saying something), this isn't your typical Fulci pic. In many ways it was just low budget detective thriller, which kinda reminded me of the Michael Caine film "Dressed to Kill". However, the graphic excesses in this far surpass those in that, or any other stalk & slash thriller to have come out before or since. Just try not to laugh at the end when he explains the reason why the killer quacks like a duck (and no it wasn't Walt Disney).