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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Mario Bava

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

From the grandmaster of Giallo (Argento comes a close second) comes one of the highlights of the genre and despite a release date of 1964, it still manages to hold that title 51 years later.

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE sees a faceless killer on the loose as _he takes the lives of a band of models, tutored by Contessa Cristina (Eva Bartok). All of whom have a secret to hide from and after the death of Isabella (Francesca Ungaro), have a motive to reclaim her missing journal. Hot on the tail of the culprit is inspector Silvester (Thomas Reiner) who has reason to believe it could be any of the men involved with the ladies in question but when he holds them for questioning and another murder occurs, the gloves are off to find the real killer in their midst.

Losing none of its charm and showing its stark beauty, Bava’s classic thriller is no less satisfying today as it was in 1964. The use of bold colours are a trademark of the genre and the scenery is that to rival even the genres great that is SUSPIRIA but more importantly, the gore, while subtle in comparison to other genre entries, is still provided with a sense of Italian style.

The dated sound dubbing that has made Italian exports so loved is still there despite an Italian language audio with all of the screams you could dream of. Yet it never distorts away from the drama between the models and their desire to hold on to their secrets while avoiding their inevitable fate. Accompanied by a score from Rustichelli that defines the era, the dated music becomes only as charming as the film itself.

Iron gloves, hot stoves and a beautifully shot drowning are but a few of the miraculous scenes on show here and it remains as a shining example to, not only Giallo, but to the horror genre how a normal story can become such a beautifully made piece of horror. From the opening credits to the very end, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is one of the golden children of the horror genre that thanks to Arrow has been given a new leash of life.

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