A masked, shadowy killer brutally murders the models of a scandalous fashion house in Rome.A masked, shadowy killer brutally murders the models of a scandalous fashion house in Rome.A masked, shadowy killer brutally murders the models of a scandalous fashion house in Rome.
**** (out of 4)
Mario Bava's ground-breaking murder-mystery takes place around a model agency where one by one women begin to be murdered by a person dressed in black and a haunting white mask. A police inspector appears to have a list of suspects narrowed down but soon he realizes that there are many twists ahead of him.
BLOOD AND BLACK LACE might not have been the first giallo ever made but there's no question that it had the biggest impact on the genre and it influenced everything that was to follow. It's easy to watch this film and see how it would influence the likes of all Italian mysteries going forward and especially those of Dario Argento. It's been said that Bava was a genius with the camera and that's obviously true by watching this Technicolor gem that jumps off the screen from the opening shot to the very last.
To me the real star here is the actual look of the film. From the opening shot to the very last you're greeted with some of the greatest and more lured images that you're ever going to see. Several directors were able to work wonders with Technicolor but I really can't think of too many who used the colors so well. Just take a look at the great detail in the various red colors throughout the picture. Whether it's a diary, a phone or blood flowing through a tub, the color just jumps out. The solid black look of the killer is something else that really stands out in the picture and just take a look at the sequence where a light flickers on and off to highlight the killer.
The film offers up some very good performances from the cast. Even though Cameron Mitchell is the only "name" here, everyone does a very good job in their roles. The death scenes are quite poetic in their own right and there's no doubt that the mystery keeps you guessing right up to the end. Another thing I've always loved about this picture is Bava's style. It really just seems as if the camera is floating from one scene to the next in a poetic way that captures the beauty of everything we're seeing on the screen but also ties everything together.
BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is one of those landmark films that has been copied dozens of times over the years but it's lost none of its luster. The film is as impressive today as it was the day it was released.
- Oct 9, 2015