Gialloween Day 21: Knife of Ice
Ugh. Lenzi. Fucking Lenzi. I can’t give a good reason as to why most of his giallo films spark a sense of hatred in me, but they do. Whenever I mention the “slow passages” in this genre, more often than not I’m thinking of one of his films. He puts the “Oh no” in giallo. In addition to most of his films being slow, not one has ever been able to capture me visually. Maybe it is the prints I have seen, but none of the really look good. That’s not to say he doesn’t have good films! I really like his poliziotteschi films, but as far as giallo films go? NAH.
Martha is a mute girl who lives in the countryside with her uncle. When her cousin visits, she is murdered. Initially thought to be a victim of a sex maniac, the case is deeper than it seems. Damn, even writing this synopsis is making me go to sleep. Let me be upfront, there is no “knife of ice” in this film. Unfortunately, it is not an actual weapon the killer uses. It is taken from a quote by an Edgar Allen Poe in referencing fear feeling like a “knife of ice”— LAME.
Lenzi alum, Carol Baker, makes an appearance as the protagonist Martha. I like to consider her the Suzy Q of the giallo genre, nothing overtly to hate about her, but nothing to love either. Her cousin played by the beautiful Evelyn Stewart (Ida Galli), makes an alright performance but is, unfortunately, is only in the first 20 minutes of the film. Baker has a unique performance as a probably the only mute giallo lead in the genre and expresses that well. Unfortunately, most of the plot itself consists of cookie cutter suspense techniques and red herrings. The use of satanic cult / imagery to associate the killings with them is a nice stylistic touch, though.
Clothes and architectures are plainly boring in this film. Usually, giallo with rural settings don’t share those characteristics, but find something else to elevate that make the film worth watching. Outside the tiny touch of satanic flair, I can’t say there was much else for me to grab onto. The ending reveal is actually a nice twist, give it you make it to the ending. Unfortunately, this film definitely goes into the ‘completists only’ bag. Lenzi, you have failed me again, we’ll see if we have better luck with our next gialloween entry, Eyeball.