Il coltello di ghiaccio
I should start this review by saying I’m not a big admirer of the films of Umberto Lenzi. I’m well aware of the high esteem he is held in by enthusiasts of cult Italian cinema, but to date I’ve only seen marginal evidence to suggest that Lenzi is little more than an incompetent and talentless hack. I say marginal because I am rather fond of his unconventional and surprising giallo Spasmo (1974), and he did make some striking contributions to the poliziotesschi cycle - most notably Almost Human (1974), Assault with a Deadly Weapon (aka Brutal Justice, 1976), and Violent Naples (aka Death Dealers, 1976). But what these films highlight is the strength of the casting, rather than Lenzi’s direction. I’m often very charitable to those filmmakers who were overshadowed/overlooked in favour of the Bava’s, Argento’s and more recently Fulci’s of the world, but I find Lenzi’s position to be entirely justified. If his career was overshadowed by others, then so too is the mans filmography. In this case by the odious excrement entitled Cannibal Ferox (1981). His earlier departure into the ‘Green Inferno’ The Man from Deep River (1972) was far superior, but Lenzi’s attempt to out grotesque Cannibal Holocaust (1980) casts a long and repulsive shadow over his career.
© Shaun Anderson 2012