As a thirteen year old, Martha Caldwell witnessed the death of her parents in a terrible railway accident. Barely surviving the tragedy herself, Martha was struck dumb due to the shock. Now... See full summary »
As a thirteen year old, Martha Caldwell witnessed the death of her parents in a terrible railway accident. Barely surviving the tragedy herself, Martha was struck dumb due to the shock. Now an adult, the still mute Martha lives with her uncle Ralph in the Spanish countryside. Martha's cousing Jenny arrives to be with the family but is quickly stabbed to death. It appears that a sex maniac is roaming the countryside; killing pretty young girls. The already traumatized Martha seems likely to be the next victim but the case turns out to be far more complicated than it would first seem. Written by
Interesting Though Rather Gore-Less Giallo from Lenzi
The great Umberto Lenzi is undeniably one of the most versatile and multi-talented Italian genre directors, having contributed to almost all (sub-)genres of Italian cult-cinema. While he is probably best-known for his notoriously brutal Cannibal movies MANGIATI VIVI (EATEN ALIVE BY THE CANNIBALS, 1980) and CANNIBAL FEROX (MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY, 1981), his greatest films (in my opinion) are those from the 70s. For my money, Lenzi's greatest films are his Poliziotteschi, above all the gritty and brutal masterpiece MILANO ODIA - LA POLIZIA NON PUÒ SPARARE (ALMOST HUMAN, 1974), followed by his Gialli, most notably the great and incredibly elegant SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO (SEVEN BLOOD-STAINED ORCHIDS, 1972). While Lenzi's films have the just reputation of being among the grittiest and most uncompromisingly violent ones in Italian cult-cinema, this is not necessarily true for his Gialli. The great Giallo-genre is generally a violent, sleazy and often sexist one, and while Lenzi's genre-contributions do employ sleaze and violence, they are comparatively tame withing the Giallo genre. Especially this IL COLTELLO DI GIACCHIO aka. KNIFE OF ICE (1972) is a convoluted and plot-based Giallo which is practically sleaze-less and rather low on brutality.
Caroll Baker, the star of Lenzi's early Gialli ORGASMO (1969) and PARANOIA (1970) plays Martha, a woman who was traumatized and left mute after witnessing the death of her parents at age thirteen. She lives with her uncle in a mansion in the Spanish countryside when her cousin is stabbed to death by a maniacal killer. What first appears to be the deed of a sex-maniac turns out to become a series of attacks with everybody involved being a possible suspect/victim...
1972 was probably THE golden year for the Giallo-genre with several of the greatest genre-masterpieces being released (e.g. Sergio Martino's IL TUO VIZIO È UNA STANZA CHIUSA E SOLO IO NÈ HO LA CHIAVE, Lucio Fulci's NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO, Massimo Dallamano's COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?, Emilio Miraglia's LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE, etc). While KNIFE OF ICE is not one of the absolute highlights of this great year of the Giallo, it is a good and very suspenseful one. As usual for the genre, the film is elegantly filmed and supported by a good (though not exceptional) score. The film has a gloomy atmosphere, and many the protagonists are likable, which makes the easy to root for. The fact that most of the murders are off-screen is one of the major letdown, especially for fans of the Giallo-typical elegantly gory murders. This is one of several Gialli that touch the subject of Satanism, even though it isn't as important as in some others (such as Sergio Martino's TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO). Caroll Baker is good in her role, as are most of the other actors. Overall, this isn't one of my favorite films from Lenzi, but it is a more than decent Giallo that my fellow fans of the Genre shouldn't miss.
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