Blood and Black Lace

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An Italian fashion house has fallen prey to a faceless serial killer who only selects attractive models. The police can seemingly do nothing to prevent the series of deaths, and more than one person at the house has a shady secret motive which places them in the frame for the murders. Can the identity of the killer be uncovered before they can strike again? (Arrow Films)


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English Giallo couldn’t have had a better start. Blood and Black Lace might be a straightforward whodunit, but under Mario Bava’s direction, it transforms into an immortal genre classic that, by the end, turns into a full-blown Greek tragedy. While it was still too early for buckets of blood, the film captivates with its haunting atmosphere and cleverly structured plot. I enjoyed it even more on my second viewing. I’d give it five stars if not for the slightly slow pre-finale phase where the film briefly loses momentum. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic piece and a cornerstone of the giallo genre. ()



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English Today, it's only a 3*, but looking at the year it was made, I'd be very unfair not to give it a 4, because the final twist, the reveal of the killer, his mask and manoeuvres are still truly breathtaking even today. On the other hand, there is a lack of nudity while the women are classically gorgeous, an absence of blood (the murders usually end in strangulation), so I'm not completely enthralled, but compared to the cult-classic Halloween, I a lot more fun here. ()


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English Blood and Black Lace is perhaps Bava’s most influential work, as it is the cornerstone not only of giallo films, but also of the first wave of American slasher flicks. Not only is its colourfulness reminiscent of Minnelli’s musicals, its narrative structure is also similar to that of a musical. It is not about the victims, who can be joined by practically anyone at any time, so identifying with any one character wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Nor is it about the detectives, who don’t reveal much, so we won’t get much pleasure out of the uncovering of new connections. It’s about the murders and their immediate emotional impact. The individual murders are staged as lavish musical numbers that are generally unnecessary for the development of the narrative (besides the symbolism of colour, music also plays a significant role in these scene). However, an aesthetically satisfying impression is made in them through a combination of unusual camera positions (the shot from the fireplace), ambiguous mise-en-scène (the terrifying mannequins) and extreme violence (which would still be extreme even by today’s standards, if we could just see more of it). In between, the men fall into frustration, the women engage in intrigue and paranoia rises. A baroque psychosexual thriller with everything that involves. Amare o lasciare. 75% ()

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