Il coltello di ghiaccio

Il coltello di ghiaccio (translation: Knife of Ice) is a 1972 Italian giallo film directed by Umberto Lenzi and starring Carroll Baker, Evelyn Stewart and George Rigaud. Both Baker and Stewart featured in several other films helmed by Lenzi. The film follows a mute woman who finds herself in danger when a serial killer begins stalking the Spanish countryside. The title takes its name from a quote by Edgar Allan Poe, in which he refers to fear as a "knife of ice which penetrates the senses down to the depth of conscience."[3]

Il coltello di ghiaccio
Film poster
Directed byUmberto Lenzi
Screenplay byUmberto Lenzi
Story by
  • Umberto Lenzi
  • Antonio Troiso
Music byMarcello Giombini
CinematographyJosé F. Aguayo, Jr.
Edited byEnzo Alabis
  • Tritone Cinematografica
  • Mundial Films
  • Incir-De Paolis[1]
Running time
91 minutes[2]
  • Italy
  • Spain

Elements of the film's script and direction have been cited as being reminiscent of works by fellow Italian Lucio Fulci. Allrovi's Robert Firsching has noted that Il coltello di ghiaccio "should prove fascinating to genre devotees."[4]


A famous singer, Jenny Ascot (Evelyn Stewart), visits her cousin Martha Caldwell (Carroll Baker) at her home in the Pyrenees. Caldwell has long been rendered mute after witnessing both her parents being killed in a train crash. While Ascot and Caldwell are travelling to Caldwell's home, they notice a strange man who seems to be following them. That night, at Caldwell's villa, Ascot hears noises coming from the garage, and when she investigates, is killed by an unseen figure.

The police believe the killing is connected to the murder of a teenage girl hours before, and their prime suspect is a local hippy they are convinced is a drug-addicted Satanist. However, two more murders occur while this suspect is in custody. Several other locals are placed under suspicion, including a doctor (Franco Fantasia), a chauffeur (Eduardo Fajardo) and an occultist (George Rigaud). Eventually the man who Caldwell and Ascot saw following them is arrested, and the police discover that his girlfriend had been found murdered several days earlier.

However, after this man is taken into custody, Caldwell's friend Christina is also murdered, prompting police to reopen the investigation. After they find that their suspect's girlfriend had died of a drug overdose, rather than being murdered, it eventually comes to light that the killer is Caldwell herself. She had killed Ascot out of jealousy of her singing voice, which piqued her interest in murder, and resurfaced to kill Christina when the girl had discovered evidence linking Caldwell to the crimes.



Baker and director Umberto Lenzi had already collaborated in several films, including 1969's Così dolce... così perversa and Orgasmo, and 1970's Paranoia.[4][5] Lenzi would also go on to cast Ida Galli—credited here as Evelyn Stewart—in 1975's Il giustiziere sfida la città and 1978's Il grande attacco.[6]

The film's use of Satanists as initial suspects has been compared to Lucio Fulci's film Non si sevizia un paperino, also released in 1972. Il coltello di ghiaccio features frequent use of close-up shots of characters' eyes, which has also been noted as a "Fulci trademark".[4]

Release and reception

Il coltello di ghiaccio has also been distributed under the titles Vertigine, Dagger of Ice, Knife of Ice, Detrás del Silencio.[7]and The Ice Pick.[8]

Writing for AllMovie, Robert Firsching gave the film a rating of two-and-a-half stars out of five, adding that "despite its inconsistencies, [the film] should prove fascinating to genre devotees".[4]


Works cited

  • Luther-Smith, Adrian (1999). Blood and Black Lace: The Definitive Guide to Italian Sex and Horror Movies. Stray Cat Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-9533261-1-X.
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