Friday, May 26, 2006
Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Directed by Mario Bava, Blood and Black Lace is one of the first "giallo" movies and is considered a groundbreaking film in that genre. "Gialli" are mystery films (usually featuring a masked, trenchcoat wearing killer) that feature lots of violent and bloody deaths (that usually befall beautiful women).
The story: Models in a couture fashion house get murdered by a masked killer. Blackmail, drugs, sex and greed all play into the plot of the privileged fashion society in which the beautiful models live (and die).
The look of the film reminds me of Dario Argento's gorgeous Suspira. Bava, like Argento, uses lots of colorful Technicolor lights throughout the film to portray different moods and settings. The murder scenes were also very inventive for 1964, and today they still pack quite a punch. The first murder scene in which we see the masked and gloved killer dragging the body of one of the models is very striking and creepy. I loved the murder scene with the girl in the bathtub...so pretty yet so creepy at the same time. The plot, though secondary to the murders, is suspenseful. I didn't figure out who the killer was by the end, though I usually have at least a hunch. Also, I have to say that it was a joy seeing it in Italian. I hate films (like most of Argento's) that are either dubbed or do the silly back-and-forth between dubbed and subtitled. Those drive me nuts, and I end up not being able to enjoy the film. This one was perfect, as I could hear (and understand) the Italian perfectly.
This giallo is highly recommended! Do not expect an American-type slasher, though. Italian gialli are much different than your standard slice and dice American slasher. Gialli are more sophisticated, though still not for the faint of heart.
Buy it on Amazon!