Sergio Martino is known for his early 1970s giallo films, and this is a good introduction to his filmography. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is easier to consume and is more intelligible than Bava and Fulci’s work. It’s more down to earth. It’s exploitative, kinky, sometimes sleazy, but it’s not surreal the way most gialli are. It’s as good as any starting point in a subgenre that grows on you.
Women, in this film, spend a lot of time in bed and taking showers. If I learned anything from it, it’s that you can win a girl’s heart with a motorcycle, a cigarette, aviator shades, and an attitude. People fucked a lot in 1970s Italy, without the internet and confined to one landline. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, AKA Blade of the Ripper, will show you how babies are made.
This one is bloodier than it is gory. It won’t make you cringe. The murders are aesthetically satisfying. The performances are stiff, and that, too, becomes a signature. TSVOMW is not degrading to women or humanity as a whole. Truth is, erotica saves it from its primitive script. It keeps us busy in between its inferior dialogue scenes. The third act is a total mess. It’s out of control.