Lucio Fulci and duck themes


This is a very brief article describing how the Italian cult director Lucio Fulci used very interesting duck themes in two of his great movies:

Both of the movies have been persecuted by the authorities - political and religious. Don't Torture A Duckling criticized the dreaded Catholic Church, so the Pope and the priests tried to suppress the showing of this film. As far as I understand, they even succeeded in preventing the US theatrical release from taking place. Now we have the luxury of DVDs and blu-rays, so nobody can prevent us from watching this fantastic movie.

Regarding The New York Ripper, this film has a certain kind of aura of notoriety above it. Uncut versions containing all the violence and nudity are pretty hard to find, but I know that Another World Entertainment (AWE) has released an uncensored, restored version on DVD.

If you decide to watch this film, it is important to find a totally uncut print. Do not let low "professional critics" ratings fool you: This is a film very much worth seeing. In fact Fulci has said that Quentin Tarantino himself has seen The New York Ripper at least 25 times.

Let's now proceed with our duck theme analysis.

Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino (1972)

In Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino a catholic priest called Don Alberto Avallano (played by Marc Porel) turns out to be the killer.

killer priest
Catholic priest Don Alberto Avallano - child killer

Don Alberto has a retarded little sister Malvina who witnessed some of the stranglings. Because of this, the little sister compulsively pulls heads off of her dolls. One of the dolls is Donald Duck.

It is said that the original title for this film was Non Si Sevizia Paperino, without the "Un". "Paperino" means "Donald Duck" in Italian, and Disney company's lawyers prevented the movie makers from using that word in the title. So Fulci was forced to add "Un" to change the meaning of the title to simply "a duckling".

Donald Duck's head is found near one murder site as revealed in the newspaper:

donald duck head in the newspaper
Donald Duck's head in the newspaper
donald duck with head removed
Six-year old little Malvina carrying a beheaded Donald Duck with her mother

So the whole title Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino is based on this Donald Duck.

Lo Squartatore Di New York (1982)

Lo Squartatore Di New York also has a very important duck theme. The insane ripper is a highly intelligent physicist Peter Bunch (played by Andrea Occhipinti credited as Andrew Painter)

peter bunch the new york ripper
Physicist Peter Bunch - The New York Ripper

The reason behind Peter's insanity is complicated. In the very end of the film it is revealed that Peter has a young daughter from his previous marriage. Unfortunately the daughter is fatally ill, suffering from a rare bone disease that cannot be cured. Her right hand has been amputated. She is forced to live in a bed trapped in a hospital, and she has a "little duck" doll as her companion. Her parents never visit her, but Peter makes occasional phone calls, talking like a little duck.

The little duck doll is actually Huey - a nephew of Donald Duck.

Having realized that her beloved daughter will never grow up to be a woman, Peter's mind has snapped and he has somehow adopted the role of the "little duck". Quacking like a madman, he goes after sexually active women in New York City and kills them in brutal ways. So Peter's motive is some kind of a revenge towards all women who are healthy unlike his little daughter who is about to die soon.

the little daughter of peter bunch with little duck doll
The little daughter of Peter Bunch with her little duck doll


We have seen that Lucio Fulci used important duck themes in two of his movies. However, the ducks were not real birds, but rather Disney dolls.

I have collected dolls that are exactly like in the Fulci films. I have no idea how old Donald Duck is, but it says MADE IN ITALY in the back of the doll.

donald duck doll
Italian Donald Duck doll exactly like in Don't Torture A Duckling (1972)

The little duck can be recognized as Huey, because his name is written on the cap the duck is wearing. This Huey doll was made in 1962, so as of this writing, it is already a whopping 57 years old.

little duck doll
Little duck Huey doll exactly like in The New York Ripper (1982)

Kalevi Kolttonen <kalevi@kolttonen.fi>
Helsinki, Finland
March 30th, 2019