HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
   
 
Newest Articles
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
   
 
  Blood and Black Lace Agh! Aah! Don't!
Year: 1964
Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Ariana Gorini, Dante DiPaolo, Mary Arden, Franco Ressel, Claude Dantes, Luciano Pigozzi, Lea Leander, Massimo Righi, Francesca Ungaro, Guiliano Raffaelli, Harriet Medin, Mary Carmen
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: It is a dark and stormy night, and at the high fashion salon of Contessa Cristina Como (Eva Bartok), there are a few people who wish to see one of the models, Isabella (Francesca Ungaro), who has not arrived for the show rehearsals as of yet. Two of those people want to see her because she supplies drugs to them, but her bosses are growing impatient with her non-appearance for more professional reasons. However, Isabella will never show up, not alive at any rate, because after her taxi dropped her off at the mansion's gates, she was followed and murdered by a masked figure - and she will not be the last...

Blood and Black Lace has an important place in the history of horror movies and thrillers, because it was here that the idea of joining horror violence to thriller suspense and plotting was first thought up. Certainly there had been prototype old dark house thrillers that aimed to chill, and Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None formed the template for much of this kind of shocker to come, but it took the inspired director Mario Bava to pick up this notion and truly run with it. So it was here that all those much-maligned, and in turn much admired, giallo and slasher movies got their start; whether you think that's a good thing or not was a matter of taste.

What is inarguable is the immense style that Bava brought to the table, not something that his followers were always able to match to any great sufficiency, but setting the bar high for anyone who chose to imitate him, and there were plenty of those. The whole set up involves the glamorous deaths of beautiful women, something the Inspector (Thomas Reiner) investigating after the discovery of Isabella's body in a wardrobe puts down to the killer being a "sex maniac". The thought of such deviants were rare in cinema thrillers until Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho came along, but the use of a term like that here turns out to be an example of misdirection.

That said, it does provide Bava all the excuse he needed to decoratively present his screen murders with a flair not often seen outside the work of, well, Mr Hitchcock, and even he wouldn't go quite as far as Bava did here until Frenzy a few years later, a film that repaid the debt to the Italians who were so in the thrall of the Master of Suspense. The killings here range from death by iron claw glove to burning on a red hot stove, all very nasty, but somehow weirdly palatable in the context of the drama due to the elegance of their assembly. There's no doubt that they were the reason this film was made, and they prove the most memorable aspect.

Where the rest of the film falls down is in the bits in between. The dialogue leans heavily on the exposition side of things, where the characters basically explain the machinations of the narrative so we can understand who has a motive, or, in the final third, why the murders have occured at all. Funnily enough, the big reveal is not held back until the very end, as we find out who is behind the scheming at the sixty minute mark or thereabouts, and the rest shows how they get their comeuppance. The appearance of Cameron Mitchell will set alarm bells ringing among those seasoned viewers of the kind of trash he starred in when he wasn't in The High Chapparal, but if you haven't seen this before don't get too complacent as it doesn't pan out the way you might expect. A pioneer in its field, Blood and Black Lace is satisfying in its imagery, if not entirely when the suspects discuss their predicament. Music by Carlo Rustichelli.

Aka: Sei donne per l'assassino.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4038 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Mario Bava  (1914 - 1980)

Italian director/writer/cinematographer and one of the few Italian genre film-makers who influenced, rather than imitated. Worked as a cinematographer until the late 1950s, during which time he gained a reputation as a hugely talented director of photography, particularly in the use of optical effects.

Bava made his feature debut in 1960 with Black Sunday/The Mask of Satan, a richly-shot black and white Gothic gem. From then on Bava worked in various genres – spaghetti western, sci-fi, action, peplum, sex – but it was in the horror genre that Bava made his legacy. His sumptuously filmed, tightly plotted giallo thrillers (Blood and Black Lace, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Bay of Blood) and supernatural horrors (Lisa and the Devil, Baron Blood, Kill, Baby...Kill!) influenced an entire generation of Italian film-makers (and beyond) – never had horror looked so good. Bava’s penultimate picture was the harrowing thriller Rabid Dogs, while his last film, Shock, was one his very scariest. Died of a heart attack in 1980.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: