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Blade of the Ripper (1971)
"Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh" (original title)

R  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  15 January 1971 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,181 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 55 critic

An ambassador's wife discovers that one of the men in her life - either her husband, an ex-lover or her current lover - may be a vicious serial killer.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
George Hilton ...
George Corro
Julie Wardh
Conchita Airoldi ...
Carol Brandt (as Cristina Airoldi)
Manuel Gil ...
Dr. Harbe (as Maurice Gillas Pou)
Carlo Alighiero ...
Ivan Rassimov ...
Alberto de Mendoza ...
Neil Wardh
Bruno Corazzari ...
Marella Corbi ...
Victim who escape from the killer
Miguel del Castillo ...
Medico Spagnolo
Luis de Tejada ...
The inspector
Brizio Montinaro ...
Ospite Al party
Pouchi ...
Victim in the shower (as Pouchie)
Mira Vidotto ...
Cameriera Della Wardh


Newly married to an older man, Julie returns to Vienna, where a razor wielding slasher is killing women. Jean, her cruel and sadistic former lover, immediately contacts her, certain that only he can satisfy her strange vice. But she rejects him. She also meets George, the handsome cousin of her friend Carol; both are newly rich, thanks to an uncle's death. Julie's husband Neil is away frequently, so George pours on the charm. Meanwhile, it seems that the slasher is now focused on Julie. Bodies pile up, other murders are barely avoided, and George invites her to go away with him. Can it end happily? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Did you read about what happened to the poor girl in the shower?... See more »


Mystery | Thriller


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

15 January 1971 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Blade of the Ripper  »

Box Office


ESP 15,193,058 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was refused a UK cinema certificate in 1971 and passed uncut for DVD in 2011. See more »


When Julie hears the bellboy knock at the apartment door, she puts on a blue bathrobe without a belt. When she looks through the peephole to see who it is, she is wearing the same bathrobe, but as soon as she opens the door the robe has suddenly acquired a belt. See more »


George Corro: My specialty is courting ladies in the presence of their husbands.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The very fact that the commandment says "do not kill" makes us aware and convinced that we are descended from an unbroken chain of generations of assassins, for whom the love of murder was in their blood, as it is perhaps in ours." - Sigmund Freud See more »


References Blow-Up (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastic example of the Giallo genre!
4 November 2002 | by (Brooklyn, New York) – See all my reviews

Sergio Martino's giallo masterpiece `The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh' (also under the inferior titles: `Next Victim' or `Blade Of The Ripper') is one of the best films in the Italian cult genre. This was Sergio Martino's first ( the pun) stab at a Giallo thriller, and it's one that defines the genre as much as Argento's `The Bird With The Crystal Plummage'. Directed in 1970, Sergio Martino set the standard for Italian Hitchcockian slasher films. His use of fancy camera angles to explore the art of killing is quite entertaining while at the same time unsettling (an example of this, has a man being shot while we see it happen in the sunglasses of the killer). Sergio Martino also incorporates a surreal travelogue of exotic locations (all the characters seem to be on permanent holiday) and erotic imagery, which depicts the Italians as the ultra hip jet setters of the 70's. Mixing the seductive and intense music of Nora Orlandi with these visuals, the viewer is captivated by a darker attraction, which cannot be justified. The viewer is barraged with misogynistic violence and female cruelty, while simultaneously being lured into the debauchery setting through the lush veneer. The film also weaves a convoluted plot, that has more then one murderer (I counted four!), and everyone seems guilty. Fresh from the Spaghetti Western genre, actor George Hilton was beginning to make himself a name in the Giallo world. Though he'd previously been in `The Sweet Body Of Deborah', `The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh' was a meatier role. This film would also be the first of several that paired George Hilton with Edwige Fenech, as they continued to be the tortured couple in various Giallo outings. As a couple, George Hilton and Edwige Fenech seemed to represent exactly where Italy was at in the 70's. They were completely hedonistic, beautiful, rich, sexy, and free with passion yet completely shallow. They maybe shallow, but they are still more beautiful and nicer then the victims around them. It's the cardboard beauty that is the allure, yet their characters are never allowed to develop to be anything more then pawns for the mystery at hand. They represent our shallow fantasies, and unreal nightmares they represent a dream state. Ever notice how the characters never converse, but rather make statements, it never feels real. Along the way, we are introduced to other characters played by genre regulars Ivan Rassimov and Alberto de Mendoza. The story proceeds with a killing of a prostitute in a car by a sex crazed maniac. Then it moves on to Julie Wardh (Edwige Fenech) a rich wife to an Ambassador Neil Wardh (Alberto de Mendoza) who is being harassed by her ex-boyfriend Jean (Ivan Rassimov) who used to violently have sex with her. At a party she meets George (George Hilton) a handsome playboy, who likes to drive fast on motorcycles and wear white leather fringed jackets and aviator sunglasses. Suddenly the sex crazed murderer begins to kill women around her, while psychologically torturing her. The film lifts a reference or two from Psycho (there's a shower murder) and other Hitchcock films, but one must realize that this film fits into a genre known as Giallo, which is unique in it's own way. Though homage is paid to American mystery films, these films are still very much a product of Italy. It's this very genre that influenced `Dressed To Kill' and other American slasher films, not the other way around. It's these films that have the stylistic flair, where the likes of DePalma learn their craft by stealing. Some call it Euro Trash, or exploitative, but they refuse to see the finer aesthetic of the film. It's really just exploring the art of murder. This film is a must see for fans of Italian genre cinema, and should be done in widescreen. Highly recommended!

29 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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