Blood and Black Lace (1962)
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Ariana Gorini, Dante DiPaolo, Mary Arden, Franco Ressel, Claude Dantes, Luciano Pigozzi, Lea Landers, Massimo Righi, Francesca Ungaro
I’d like to say that if you’ve never seen Blood and Black Lace, then you’ve never seen a Mario Bava film. But the problem with that statement is that Bava made so many titles that show off his brilliance as a filmmaker, that he truly did make several masterpieces! But that being said, if you haven’t seen this particular title, then you must find it and watch it now. It might not be the first giallo, but it was one that really set the pace for that genre to follow. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen this film, viewing it each and every time is almost like a new experience, just watching perfection unfold in front of you.
The story is a simple one…of murder. And then another murder. And another one. And again. A group of women at a fashion house, who all seem to have secrets, start getting murdered one after another, usually in very brutal and violent ways. The killer is wearing what would become the traditional garb for a killer in a giallo: black overcoat, hat, nylon mask covering their face, and of course, black gloves. As the bodies start to pile up, we the audience, tries to figure out just who the killer is, until the filmmaker decides to let us all in to what is going on. Some of the murder sequences are downright brutal, not to mention creative, to say the least, but very memorable.
The real amazing thing about this title is the look of it. Bava was known for using colors in his films and this is a prime example of it. From the velvet red manikins, the colored lighting, the clothing, everything a distinct and vibrant selection from the color wheel. Just amazing to look at. And filling this rainbow of set pieces, we get a selection of characters that seem to be either scheming against one another, or just trying to survive the 90 minutes
Arrow really put out an amazing disc here. First and foremost, the quality of this print is just mind-blowing. The colors just shine right through the screen, burning into your psyche. But this stunning looking print is just part of this release. We get a brand new audio commentary from Bava scholar Tim Lucas, who gives us so much more information about Bava and this film. We also get a documentary called Psycho Analysis, where we get to hear about the giallo genre from not just critics, but the people that worked in that industry, like screenwriters, and directors like Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento. It is just under an hour but well worth your time. There is also another featurette called Gender and Giallo which also gives another insight to this style of films. There are plenty of other extras on this disc, but they are just that…extras. The movie itself is the reason you need to pick up this disc and the extras are just icing on the cake.