Blood and Black Lace (1964)

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“A shadowy killer in black brutally murders fashion models.” — IMDb

Holy crap, this freakin’ movie. So fantastic. It’s considered to be one of the earliest and most influential of all giallo films and is said to have inspired filmmakers such as Tarantino and Argento. It’s kind of a big deal.

The director, Mario Bava, had already had worldwide commercial success with his two previous films (Black Sunday in 1960 and Black Sabbath in 1963), so he was given creative control over this one. He was “bored by the mechanical nature of the whodunit“, so he chose to emphasize more of the horror and sex in the film. It had a fairly low budget of $150,000 and while it tanked in Italy (grossing only about $77,000), it has since been revered as one of the horror and mystery classics.

One of the best things about the movie is the use of color and light. It’s downright decadent, and a huge shift from his previous black & white films. The plot may not be the most complex and original, but the tension is palpable throughout the entire movie, and I was glued to the screen for the entirety, trying to guess who the killer was.

The killings themselves are very intimate and personal, each one a little different than the last. Not overly gory — I don’t consider any killings with such obviously fake, bright red blood to be that bad — but still disturbing all the same. But ultimately it’s the tense paranoia of this film that keeps you pulled in. I loved it!

Rating: 8/10 | Director: Mario Bava | Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Ariana Gorini, Dante DiPaolo, Mary Arden

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