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  • Bava of course is the ultimate auteur whose mysterious visual style alone makes pretty much any of his movies worth watching. Here however there is a bit of a tug-of-war between his desire to materialize victims' fears in delirious murder sequences (especially in the antique store), magically colored with his amazing lighting techniques, with rather pedestrian cops-and-robbers sequences that are a bit stilted and have a 1940s aura about them. Bava is undoubtedly at his best in pure horror, when he can leave the real world behind. Still, though, his mythological spaces in this film, a fashion salon, amazingly baroque apartments, create a dream-like anything can happen atmosphere. And he's not just being scenic. Bava has a keen eye for the aura of intimacy that women create about themselves and when that space is violated and especially when the murderer strikes, and then gets rough with their dead bodies, one feels the violation viscerally. Bava works so hard to decorate the aura of women with all the curtains, statues, dresses , mannequins (somehow commenting on the proceedings) and engaging close-ups, that when his victims are shown dead with their bras on, it seems more shocking than the hundreds of nude corpses in the slasher movies in years to come (he's often credited with creating the slasher, maybe formally, but not in tone). In fact, the best setpiece in the movie features a dead women in her bra with a suit of armor fallen on top of her, a bizarre tableaux with hint of necrophilia. In spite of his stylistics, Bava doesn't wander off plot, which turns out to be carefully revealed, and with a twist. Cameron Mitchell is quite good. Obviously, all of Bava should be watched, including this one.
  • The flick deals with a respected house of style (managed by Eva Bartok and Cameron Mitchell) where happens several bloody murders and gruesome executions . A diary seems to implicate about anybody fashion models are dieing . Then the diary disappearing originates a real massacre of the remaining fashion girls . An inspector (Thomas Reiner) investigates the strange killings with numerous suspects (the usual baddies Franco Ressel and Luciano Pigozzi or Alan Colins , Massimo Righi , among others).

    Bava's second great success (the first was ¨Black Sunday¨ or ¨Mask of Demon¨)is compellingly directed with startling visual content . This frightening movie is plenty of thrills, chills, high body-count and glimmer color in lurid pastel with phenomenal results . This is a classic slasher where the intrigue, tension, suspense appear threatening and lurking in every room, corridors and luxurious interior and exterior . This genuinely mysterious story is well photographed by Ubaldo Terzano and Mario Bava with magenta shades of ochre , translucently pale turquoises and deep orange-red .

    The movie belongs to Italian Giallo genre , Bava (¨Planet of vampires¨, ¨House of exorcism¨) along with Riccardo Freda (¨Secret of Dr. Hitchcock¨ , ¨Il Vampiri¨) are the fundamental creators . In fact , both of whom collaborated deeply among them , as Bava finished two Fedra's films ¨Il Vampiri¨ and ¨Caltiki¨ . These Giallo movies are characterized by overblown use of color in shining red blood , usual zooms and utilization of images-shock . Later on , there appears Dario Argento (¨Deep red¨, ¨Suspiria¨,¨Inferno¨), another essential filmmaker of classic Latino terror films . Rating : Good, this is one more imaginative slasher pictures in which the camera stalks in sinister style throughout a story with magnificent visual skills.
  • An upper-crust European fashion salon is having a devil of a time keeping girls working for it in this unique, visually breath-taking Mario Bava film. One fashion model after another dies a horrible death: one strangled, another failing to accept the gauntlet too soon, one having her face pushed into a hot iron, and so on. After watching this film, there will be almost no doubt at all how much Mario Bava influenced modern directors - and no one more particularly than Dario Argento. Bava's use of color, his choice of murder victims, his mystery of cat with mouse and then dog chasing cat(police on trail of murderer) are all signature trademarks of Argento's work. Blood and Black Lace is perhaps the most stylish, stunning film I have seen in terms of how color is used in every frame. From the opening credits with a great rhythmic score, hues of every shade permeate the screen. Bava uses colors like no other director I have ever seen attempt to do so with the exception of Argento. Watch Suspiria by Argento and closely look at how he uses blues and reds and tell me Bava is not written all over it! Blood and Black Lace has all the colors and it is really like a moving canvas. Bava is the artist controlling lighting, shading, and depth perception. I know I am gushing, but this is one beautiful film. The story, at least for me, is a secondary matter. It is a good story. I knew who the murderer was fairly quickly, but Bava does throw in some red herrings that will at least have you second guessing yourself. The actors are all pretty good. Cameron Mitchell plays a guy running the salon with his wife, played VERY ably by the lovely Eva Bartok. I had trouble taking my eyes off her as well as the rest of the beautiful European models. Luciano Pigozzi has a small role. You might remember him as the Italian character actor with the Peter Lorre face and eyes. Blood and Black Lace is certainly one of Bava's best films. Not his best though - Black Sunday wins that hands down. But this film is definitely his greatest in terms of artistic merit. It is a visual masterpiece and Bava deserves so much more credit as an innovative, creative force in film than he receives.
  • Influential killer thriller from Italian horror master Mario Bava is a stylish genre landmark.

    A faceless murderer is killing models associated with a fashion house. Who is the killer and what is their deadly vendetta?

    Blood and Black Lace is one of the solid forerunners of the Italian giallo genre. It has all the classic elements of a classic giallo - a gloved killer, beautiful victims, a mystery plot, scandals etc. All of which is wrapped around Bava's lovely, colorful direction. The plot itself turns on a well written mystery that builds some good suspense and is dashed with an array of intense murder scenes. The jazzy, atmospheric music score is also a nice touch and the performances of the cast aren't bad.

    Over all, an entertaining early giallo and one of Bava's best contributions to Italian horror. A must see for giallo fans.

    *** out of ****
  • My Rating : 7/10

    'Blood and Black Lace' has all the spice and style I like in slashers/thrillers. Giallo filmmaking at its apex.

    This is some damn fine atmospheric murder mystery filmed in true Mario Bava style.

    Superb. Love this movie!
  • eibon0926 November 2001
    Sei Donne Per L'Assassino/Blood and Black Lace(1964) introduced the body count concept to horror films. Influential concept which shaped style of Giallo films from 1970s-1980s and American Slasher subgenre of 1980s. Mario Bava filmed each murder sequence in their own distinct flavor. Blood and Black Lace(1964) is an example of making every death scene in a body count pic memorable. Years later, Mario Bava did another body count driven giallo in Reazione a Catena/Bay of Blood(1971) which surpasses this giallo in number of death moments. Mario Bava was an innovator in horror and general cinema whose visual style continues to influence.

    Blood & Black Lace(1964) offered audiences in early 1960s a candy coding spectacle of death and violence. A positive is the lack of a moral preaching which is a major weakness of the American Slasher film. Adult orienated horror film which thankfully lacks the basic elements of a Teenage Slasher film. Follows in steps of Grand Guignol, and theater of cruelty theater forms. Death moments are filmed in Grand Guignol style with physical intensity. Theater of Cruelty influence is based on film's preference of metaphysical and mise-en-scene forms over motives of character and psychology.

    The first murder which takes place during opening moments is an intense preview of things to come. Murder of Nicole includes colorful setting and stylish weapon. Peggy's death scene begins with build up sympathy for character. Forth murder sequence concludes with macabre modeling image. Tao Li's death beings in abrupt fashion and features erotic elements. The sixth and final murder sequence is the most tragic of them all.

    Greed is main reason behind murders in the story. The rich are unsympatheticly depicted by Bava as being decadent and selfish. Greed is a driving force for most of Bava's characters who barely care for anything else. I think of film as part of an informal trilogy which I call Greed trilogy. Greed trilogy consists of Sei Donne Per L'Assassino/Blood and Black Lace(1964), 5 Bambole per la Luna D'Agosto/5 Dolls for an August Moon(1970), and Reazione a Catena/Bay of Blood(1971). River of greed in Bava's films results only in death and tragedy.

    Mario Bava paints many scenes in gorgeous technicolor process. He exercises different colors in Blood and Black Lace(1964) with flamboyant vision. Colors of blue, black, green, purple, red, and yellow are used to represent different types of predictaments. Bava's expertise as cinematographer and painter is a plus in the film's look. Scene in antique shop is a lesson on how to film something in extravagant colors. There are few filmmakers out there with exception of Dario Argento and Martin Scorsese who are able to incorporate color into film with artistic flair like Mario Bava was able to do.

    Suspense in murder sequences is manufactured via extreme colors and physical intensity. Bava depicts an aura of paranoia and suspicion as a result of photographing scenes with extreme use of colors. He detaches himself from identifying with murderer by showing face in a white blank. In photographing sequences with visual flair, Mario Bava treats the viewer to a large helping of voluptuous desert. I consider film to be director's most sightly color photographed giallo. Blood & Black Lace(1964) stands out in giallo genre because of artistic touch and visceral flamboyance.

    On the surface, the Haute Couture Fashion House is a place of idealized beauty and social priviledge. Under the facade however, reveals a backdrop of aristocratic decay, blackmail, drugs, murder, and sex. Deception is a motif which frequents the art and cinema of Mario Bava. Bava presents aristocratic society in film as heartless and selfish. They live in their own isolated environment with concerns only for sensual pleasures, power, and wealth. Aristocrats in Blood and Black Lace(1964) and other Bava films appears to be patterned after Mussolini regime.

    Effect on Italian horror was slow but reached cinematic importance with emergence of Dario Argento's Bird with the Crystal Plumage in 1969. Sei Donne Per L'Assassino(1964) is considered to be the first full blown giallo in Italian cinema. Landmark film filled with elements which became staples of giallo and slasher cinema. Part of the film's brilliance is its flamboyant visual style and flair for the macabre. Director's other landmark horror picture in his career was influential Bay of Blood(1971). Blood & Black Lace(1964) blends in elements of giallo and noir with perfect fusion.

    There are interesting allusions to Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity(1944) during second half. Relationship between Massimo and Countess Christina shares comparisons with relationship between Walter and Mrs. Dietrichson in Double Indemnity(1944). Last scene is an updated take off of final moments in Whip and the Body(1963). Very good performances are given by Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok who play their parts well characterized by detachment and passion. Bava did a variation of fashion world in another giallo called Il Rosso Segno Della Follia/Hatchet for the Honeymoon(1969). Red Diary is a wonderful plot device used again in Bay of Blood(1971).

    Luciano Pigozzi earns the title of Italian Peter Lorre with Lorrish and sinister presence. Death of Peggy via hot stove was slightly cut especially in moment when face is pulled off to reveal it to be destroyed and steaming. Moment was cut due to being too graphic in its time and has never appeared in any print of Blood and Black Lace(1964). Heroes are almost non existent in Mario Bava's universe and Sei Donne Per L'Assassino(1964) is no exception. Tightly directed and nicely edited with wonderful trashy jazz film score by Carlos Rustichelli. What it lacks in gore is made up with physical and visual intensive drive.
  • This was undeniably a major influence on the Gaillo style of film and probably also on the later "body count" serial killer films.

    In this film, a serial killer wearing a hose mask kills women brutally and viciously. The film sets up many likely candidates and well keeps one guessing and guessing. Great stuff!

    Bava's color visuals also stand out and apart as usual. This is simply gorgeous to view.
  • One of the most chillingly sadistic gialli of all times, this 1964 masterpiece has lost none of its power. Director Mario Bava, the king of Italian horror, cleared the path for Dario Argento and others with this film, though it was not his first effort in the field. In 1962, Bava delivered what was probably the first Italian thriller, La ragazza che sapeva troppo. But whereas La ragazza was a relatively straight-forward murder mystery, this film ignores plot and character in favor of concentrating on the link between cinema and spectacle. The story deals with a series of gruesome murders which are plaguing the chic Haute Couture fashion salon: one by one, the lovely models are horribly murdered by a mad man who appears to be operating with no real motive. The police write the killer off as a sex maniac, but the truth of the matter is that the salon is a veritable hot bed of sex, drugs, and sordid dealings. A diary, loaded with information about these indiscretions, is making the rounds between the various models, and the killer is obsessed with tracking it down before his/her indiscretions are revealed. Though structured as a murder mystery--the German co-producers no doubt wanted Bava to deliver an Edgar Wallace-style thriller--the director takes the film off into unexpected, visionary directions. Even more so than Argento or Fulci, Bava seems fascinated by images of violent death. Yet whereas former med student Fulci insisted on dousing his corpses with blood and gore, former painter Bava keeps the bloodshed to a minimum, instead concentrating on the violent death throes which are shot in a eerily beautiful manner. The very first slasher film, though that label belittles Bava's achievement somewhat. Unlike later hack-em-up directors, Bava is very conscious of the links between the viewer and the cinematic process. By encouraging the viewer to identify with the killer's pleasure-i.e., we think the killings are beautiful in the same way that he no doubt does-Bava makes a very powerful statement on the power of the image. The characters are flat and one-dimensional, because they need to be. There are no heros, only victems. The police are depicted as arrogant and ineffectual, in contrast to most films of this era, Bava does not encourage the viewer to identify with anyone beyond the killer. Within the microcosmic environment of the fashion salon, Bava makes some telling comments on society, as well. Visionary filmmaking at its best.

    An under-estimated classic. My rating ***** out of *****.

    Review by Troy Howarth
  • Visually, this may be one of the most stunning films you will ever see. The photography, framing, lighting and use of colour is unequalled in this genre of film making from this era. The fluidity of the camera-work is remarkable and repays repeated viewings to appreciate it fully. The only thing that may make this difficult going for some is the English dubbing so see it with subtitles if you can. The acting is not great and in some places will bring about laughter where it was not intended ditto the actions of some of the victims. The murders are gruesome and graphic even in the cut version of this film and must have been truly shocking to audiences in 1964. The excellent music score fits perfectly with the fashion house setting of the story and the models are beautiful.
  • When the model Isabella (Francesca Ungaro) is murdered by a masked killer, the models of the fashion house managed by Contessa Cristina Como (Eva Bartok) and her lover Max Marian (Cameron Mitchell) are shaken with the crime. The model Nicole (Ariana Gorini) finds Isabella's diary and late night she borrows the car of her friend Peggy Peyton (Mary Arden) and heads to the shop of her boyfriend Frank Sacalo (Dante DiPaolo) to meet him. However, the masked killer follows Nicole and kills her expecting to find the journal. But Peggy had stolen the diary to destroy pages that compromises her and she is also murdered by the killer. Meanwhile Inspector Silvester (Thomas Reiner) has a list of suspects that includes Frank, who blackmails Marquis Richard Morell (Franco Ressel) to give the necessary alibi to him. Who might be the killer and why the diary is so important to him?

    "Sei donne per l'assassino", a.k.a. "Blood and Black Lace" is a giallo film directed by Mario Bava and one of his best movies. The colors, shadows and stylish camera-work give the perfect environment to the gruesome murders. The plot is standard with a masked killer that the police believe that is a sexual maniac stalking and killing beautiful women. The conclusion gives a good explanation to the mystery and the plot is well-resolved. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): Not Available

    Note: On 01 March 2017 I saw this film again.

    Title (Brazil):"Seis Mulheres Para o Assassino" ("Six Women for a Killer")
  • A Fashion House is being plagued by a mysterious masked serial killer who is picking the girls off one by one in a variety of gruesome ways…Why this Maniac is killing these girls is academic to the plot, as this film is STYLE driven and what style it is too…..we are of course as in any good thriller suspicious of everyone…Is the Killer a Man a Woman or is there more than one Killer….Bava takes great pleasure in teasing us into believing all of these at some stage……This is the Third film in my indoctrination into Mario Bava and it is again no disappointment…..Bava's use of light and shadow and of mirrors and reflection is stunning and never has colour been used so brilliantly and not just gaudy reds blues purples yellows but subtle use of pastels too……The fashion scene is perfect for Bava's visual flair with its very beautiful models and Haute Couture and both are given sublime treatment…….The score is also very memorable and reminiscent of Henry Mancini at his best……The killer bears an uncanny resemblance to Freddie Krueger only much better… don't tell me he wasn't an influence on the makers of Nightmare on elm street…..Even though this was dubbed it has one of the best dubbings I have seen and is not intrusive on the film…. You know some times you hear of certain directors or films that are just Brilliant Magnificent or Unmissable and How often have you been disappointed and wondered what the fuss was all about....Mario Bava is not in that category....He is a master of style and cinema.....To tell you I was dumbfounded by the films I have seen so far is an understatement....I was expecting cheap nasty gory and under-produced films that had some charm..... but what I got is one of the greatest and most sumptuous of Cinematic experiences....The Man truly is a Cinematic God...He is the Orson Welles of Horror and that means a lot coming from me……this film is Simply Wonderful
  • The Christian house of high fashion is rocked by the brutal murder of one of its models. It seems that a masked, black-gloved murderer is at work. Police Inspector, Sylvester (Thomas Reiner) is on the case, while Countess Christina Como (Eva Bartok) and Max Morlan (Cameron Mitchell) attempt to run the business as usual. Then, a secret diary is discovered, another woman is killed, and just about everyone is a possible suspect! Not surprisingly, the deaths don't stop there. What is this person looking for that is worth such vicious cruelty? Director, Mario Bava's influence on future filmmakers such as Argento, Fulci, etc. is quite evident. His signature, innovative use of various types of lighting is on full display, as the sets / characters are bathed in constantly changing color schemes and shadows. BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is a feast for the eyes, as well as being one of the greatest giallo films ever made. Chilling for its day, it still holds up well, and the finale is a classic!...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mario Bava's acclaimed masterpiece of murder and mayhem is widely considered to be the first real "giallo" film. That is, the sub-genre of films which consist of a series of murders perpetrated by a masked villain who is unmasked at the end of the film. These films always have detectives investigating the cases too, and Dario Argento was very fond of this particular type of movie. However, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is the one that started it all back in the early sixties.

    Any fan of murder mysteries should watch this film as the twists and turns are very good, enthralling even, and keep the viewer's mind working overtime to figure out who the killer actually is. There's a fair share of red herrings and suspects to contend with, all lensed with Bava's famed stylish camera-work and brimming with sinister atmosphere - the screen is almost always full of shadows, where killers lurk unseen. Watching this film today, I'm reminded of many later films which consciously or not resemble this movie. The killer's blank white face is very similar to that of Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN, except more effective because there are no features, there is no face - it's just blank and expressionless, devoid of humanity. This makes the killer a very frightening and mysterious one indeed.

    The cast all give it their best and are commendable. The women do their bit and act terrified accordingly. The men are all shifty and suspicious looking, so it's very difficult to spot who exactly is the murderer. The murders are violent and almost always include the victims in their underwear, perhaps giving the title meaning and at least providing some lurid attractiveness - while not gory, we still see the agony of death, the throes of pain. They're very brutal for the time too.

    A quiet yet effective score provides some suspense, as well as the dark and shadowy sets. The plot weaves all over the place, yet it never becomes absurd or over the top - instead, remaining believable and exciting. BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is really a great Italian thriller, made by one of the masters of horror, and should be seen by any self-respecting mystery, thriller or giallo fan.
  • Tender-Flesh27 November 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    Get ready for a fun ride with Mario Bava. Dripping with atmosphere, mysterious shadows, intense colors, and a stalking camera moving through curtained archways and around multicolored wicker mannequins, Bava sets the standard for the Artful Slasher(wasn't he a Dickens character?). I don't know if anyone else would draw the same parallel, but I found the killer's costume quite similar to the murderer in The Bat(1959). I haven't read about Bava being familiar with that film, but the costumes each have the blank face for the mask, and a large dark hat, black gloves, and so on. Both were probably borrowed from the pulps.

    The plot concerns several young ladies in a fashion salon who are being murdered by a "fiend without a face." He stalks like a mixture of Jack the Ripper and The Phantom of the Opera. I only wish the body count had been bigger--I really enjoyed seeing his handiwork. Some reviewers of old have described this as gory, well, it certainly is not. Most definitely not when paired against Blood Feast which was released close to the same time. There are a few bloody shots, some from a distance, but nothing to make anyone squirm nowadays. It may have been something back in the day, but audiences didn't flock to this when it was released and it performed poorly at the box office. The usual inept police show up and help carry the story along. The killer reveal is sort of ho-hum and the reason for the murders is not what modern fans may be used to. Normally, these days, one expects serious psychological issues or even retardation in those old sex maniacs(gotta love the Italians for throwing that term into almost every giallo or slasher they ever made), but this characters motivation is a little simpler.

    The use of color is marvelous and you will deeply dig the camera-work. Personally, I hate stationary cameras or ones that just move from left to right on a tripod. Bava moves from room to room, passing the sinister shadows, and occasionally flashing neon into windows for some great sequences. My only real complaint is with the audio track. It's a shame that modern DVD companies can't fix that sort of thing. I don't mean that the dubbing was bad(though it was--spoken very quickly) but the timing was off by a good one second, so car doors slam shut in your ear a second after the door itself is already closed, or characters begin talking but there's no sound. And then we have the keys rattling against tumblers after the person's hand has stopped turning. But, you can't have everything. Blood and Black Lace is the sort of film that very few film makers in the 80's probably ever saw. Slasher movies can have artistic merit as great cinema regardless of their subject matter. This movie is proof.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With the Girl Who Knew Too Much, Mario Bava gave us what I guess was the first giallo, only with a few pieces missing from the template, but with Blood and Black Lace he gives us the giallo as a fully formed product with every single aspect intact. Except naked boobs and fannies.

    You've got the attractive fashion model/victims, the loud, campy sets with over-use of primary colours, obvious red herrings, a masked, gloved, and be-hatted killer who stalks his victims, over the top violence, many plot twists, crappy police investigation, sexualised violence, kitsch, and other adjectives, like garish! It's all here, and it's all directed by Mario Bava! And he gets bored with the clichés about an hour and ten minutes in and turns the film on its head! We get a wonderful credits sequence to this film too, what with all the key players being introduced while posing with some loudly coloured dummies (and being equated to said dummies). We also get a lot of Bava's patented 'messing with the audiences head' which makes his films so enjoyable to enjoy, in an enjoyably enjoyable way.

    Three paragraphs and no plot? That's a good sign. Basically, some girls at a bitchy Roman fashion house are being carved up by a masked killer, and the police have no clue why. There are plenty of suspects, however, from jealous boyfriends to blackmailers to etc. Interestingly the first girl who was killed had a diary and immediately half the cast want to get their hands on it.

    Bava here dispenses mostly with the police and concentrates on the murder sequences, and it's here I guess where the film truly takes off and where I'm guessing Argento, Lenzi, and Martino had their notebooks out. Some are truly brutal here, and although he doesn't resort to nudity, most of these girls are offed in a kind of sexual fashion.

    So, a standard giallo would have a bunch of suspects and then the killer unmasked, but, this early in the genre Bava doesn't even bother with that and unmasks the killer without ceremony about an hour in, but even then he's messing with us, because the killer was in jail when another murder happened! Ah...this is what makes the best of these films.

    Only problem is that the killer is played by an actor with such a distinctive face (and nose) you'll peg them almost right away, but don't let that put you off, this is another great film from Mario Bava, and is easily 85 million times better than Season 7 of the Walking Dead, which my wife made me sit through instead of watching this
  • Originally titled 'Six Women for the Killer', this Mario Bava film is often cited as the movie that pioneered the giallo horror subgenre with a plot that places more emphasis on gruesome murders than catching a killer. Full of creepy tracking shots and with eerie sound effects frequently favoured over background music, the film certainly succeeds in depicting a handful of memorable murders and stalking sequences. There is a particularly effective part where one victim to-be is chased around an antique dealer's place where every nook and cranny is lit up in varying neon shades of blue, pink and purple. The opening murder is effective too. The plot, characters and acting here leaves a lot to be desired though with the story coming to a near stand-still in between the murders. Thomas Reiner makes for one of the dullest police detectives of all time, though to be fair, the cast are hardly saddled with the sort of dialogue that could have made their characters come alive. Of course, many will be quick to point out that narratives are always a secondary consideration in gialli, but when one considers what Dario Argento was able of achieve in years to come with films like 'Suspiria' and 'Tenebrae' that managed to wrestle good performances and a decent plot into the giallo formula, it is hard not to mentally compare and contrast. Certainly, if viewed with minimal expectations, there is a lot to like about 'Blood and Black Lace'; it is simply hard not to expect something more revolutionary from a film that kick-started an iconic movie trend.
  • I don't know why it took me so long to see this little gem, considering that firstly it was made by one of my favourite Italian directors Mario Bava and that it's considered one of the most important Giallo films and now that it has been released on Arrow films with a restored print, instead of trying to view with a not so great picture quality, and after viewing it I was pleasantly surprised by firstly at how beautiful it looked in its rich vivid colours and considering it was made in 1963, it doesn't look dated at all and very stylish.

    The storyline here is that on one stormy night a young model is murdered outside a lavish fashion house where she works with a group of other young models and this sparks a chain of events when her diary goes missing which reveals the sordid details of what's going on with the people who work there and not long after more women start to get murdered.

    This movie is definitely entertaining and relies heavily on its camera-work, set designs, artwork and lighting, all of which creates the perfect atmosphere. I have no complaints with this, only that I would say that the first half of the movie where the majority of the murders takes place is definitely stronger than the second half, which does have a neat little twist at the end which most Giallo's have and given that this movie was the one that started that started that trend, so that was pretty neat and makes this one of the strongest and influence shall of the genre.

    With a strong cast including Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok, 'Blood And Black Lace' is a very beautiful and violent movie where Bava really excels himself as a director and showing off his unique visual style on what otherwise would be a sub-standard script, and okay this may not be the best or most riveting of the genre, but it is very decent and it does pull you into this manic world that Bava has created within this universe.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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!
  • Isabella (Francesca Ungaro), one of the lovely young models at a fashion house, meets a gruesome demise in this films' opening minutes. When her former co-workers rifle through her belongings, a diary is discovered. And many characters are mighty anxious to find out what Isabella might have written in there. Meanwhile, people continue to be murdered, and there's no shortage of suspects.

    "Blood and Black Lace" was an early example of that beloved Italian genre of murder mysteries known as "Gialli", and as such, it's pretty good of its kind. Some viewers could find it a little hard to stomach, because it's rather brutal. Our murderer employs various methods, but always displays a certain sadism. The story & screenplay (by Marcello Fondato, in collaboration with director Mario Bava and Giuseppe Barilla) are not great, but they are reasonably involving and do try to keep you on your toes. The real drawing card, as with any film by Bava, is his visual style. His creation of images, and the colorful lighting and props, rank right up there with the best of his work. Things begin on an effectively ominous note, with a close-up on a sign that comes loose due to a heavy storm. As Bava well knows, dark and stormy nights are a classic trope of the entire horror genre.

    The acting is generally acceptable, with American actor Cameron Mitchell in the lead. Standing out among this cast are the sultry Eva Bartok as the Contessa, and Dante DiPaolo as drug-addicted Frank Sacalo. Other familiar faces include Luciano Pigozzi (the Italian Peter Lorre), Lea Lander ("Rabid Dogs"), and Harriet Medin ("The Whip and the Body"). As fans of the Giallo come to expect, much of the female cast is strikingly sexy and used to full advantage.

    Some Bava fans regard this as his true masterpiece.

    Seven out of 10.
  • Blood and Black Lace (1964)

    **** (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.
  • Cameron Mitchell heads a haute couture fashion salon where the models are being murdered by a psychotic killer in a black hat, black coat and stocking mask; seems the first victim left behind a diary, which the maniac desperately wants. A police detective is immediately on the case and has a host of suspects, including Mitchell and several dressers and designers. French-Italian co-production directed and co-written by Mario Bava (who also assisted in the cinematography) has a sterling reputation among Giallo buffs and slasher fans, but the robotic English dubbing coupled with the blinking neon lights and melodramatic music by Carlo Rustichelli gives the picture a thick coating of kitsch. Bava, at this point, knows a great deal more about staging a sequence for the camera than he does about building suspense or intrigue in the scenario; thus, the film is visually imaginative and yet strangely fatiguing. ** from ****
  • With this exercise in style and mayhem, Mario Bava managed to set the standards for a whole new sub-genre in horror, the "giallo". It is basically a very simple detective story with added violence and gore and, even if I admire this movie greatly, it is far from perfect. The acting ranges from amateurish to wooden (with Bartok and Mitchell as exceptions - they deliver their lines with some conviction even when what they are saying is absolutely ridiculous). Just take a look at one ham-actor having what must be one of the least credible (and most funny) epileptic attacks in movie history. Almost everyone is atrociously dubbed. The pace is erratic and, when the story concerns itself with the policework, close to non-existent. However, these are minor quibbles since the formula of the giallo is all about stylish murders committed (mostly) against beautiful females. And Bava, as a former cinematographer, had an eye for stylish visuals few others could measure up to. The sets are lighted with stark contrasts between light and darkness, where pools of color highlights certain details. It is as far removed from the danish Dogma concept as you'll ever get. Just look at the opening scene, gorgeously shot with gaudy colors. You won't be able to take your eyes from the screen as long as Bava treats his locations and actors as a canvas to paint on. Unfortunately, the scenes were his approach would do enormous benefit, the police investigation scenes, are dreary both from a dramatic AND visual standpoint. But elsewhere this movie is a visual treat! And the violence is strong when you know that this movie was made in the early sixties. If "Psycho" seems relatively tame by todays standards, "Blood and black lace" still packs a punch with certain murder set-pieces. So do watch this if you want a piece of movie history and don't mind that most of the actors have a range from A to B.
  • "Blood and Black Lace" focuses on a fashion house who becomes targeted by a sinister killer; each murder appears to be connected to a diary that belonged to the killer's first victim.

    In true Bava fashion (no pun intended), "Blood and Black Lace" is a visually luscious film that has been branded as the "first giallo," and it probably was. The setup of the film is fantastic and precedes the slasher prototype by at least a decade; an expansive fashion house full of laced mannequins, exquisite architecture, shadowy corners, and gorgeous supermodels—what better setting for a horror film?

    Bava, the auteur he was, takes full advantage of the silk-laden mannequins, velvet curtains, and glamorous interiors, which are bathed in shadows and illuminated in bright colors; at some points, the film has an even "Suspiria"-esque visual flair, but predates Argento's film by a good thirteen years. Narratively, the film has a fairly straightforward, if not flimsy script, which, though fairly routine by today's standards, would have been much more full of surprises in 1964. The performances in the film are decent, and Cameron Mitchell makes an appearance as a potentially shady salon owner, and complements the film nicely. While it is not a particularly gory film, Bava does a phenomenal job with the models' death scenes, crafting what may be among the most beautiful murders in film history.

    Overall, "Blood and Black Lace" is a rightfully sung genre classic; in my opinion, it is one of Mario Bava's greatest achievements, chock full of luscious supermodels, a sprawling mansion, and a masked killer with a vendetta. The film operates as both a slasher and a murder mystery in equal measure, and engages on both platforms. The visual flair is the centerpiece holding it all together of course, in true Bava tradition.
  • Bava's fifth fully-credited horror film as a director is efficiently set in a famous Roman fashion house. Drug abuse, adultery and blackmail are a daily routing for the beautiful models working there. But now, the line of small felonies is permanently crossed with the bloody murder of one of the house's top models. Several others undergo the same merciless …killed by a raving psychopath dressed much like Claude Rains was disguised in `the Invisible Man'. Blood and Black Lace is a lot slower and less dark than the usual Bava chillers. The plot also is pretty predictable, but that doesn't keep Bava from providing the film with a lot of magnificent tension and cruelty that is ahead of its time. Gothic morbidity rules the atmosphere, the score is genuinely creepy and the actresses are ravishingly-looking. Mario Bava always delivers and that makes him the greatest horror director of all time! Period!
  • That people come to praise 'Sei donne per l'assassino' (1964) as a wonderful movie is totally beyond me. Oh yes I understand how their brains work and yes, the lighting is key in creating a stunning visual style.

    But once you acknowledged Mario Bava's work to create this style, there only remains enormous flaws to list. I agree 'La maschera del demonio' (1960) was tense so you wouldn't have the time to notice the flimsy story, poor directing and lame acting. In this trend-setting color flick the style is clearly over the top: the irrational lighting, the vivid colors and the slow pace of the shots, all really create an atmosphere of its own. Yet there's absolutely no substance to sustain this surreal setting.

    Actors are lame puppets brought together or aside in a dead-flat storyline. The framing of the shots is heavy and monotonous. The interior shots all look the same, which would induce a claustrophobia feeling if there was a real suspense to keep us on the edge of our seats but only adds up to the global film-making cheapness.

    The worst comment critics can do about a boring movie they despise is compare it to watching paint dry. I would only say that a book of still photographs from this movie must be a real masterpiece. Now, those who over-hyped this dull motion picture are certainly proud of their taste, for me they just have zero ability to see beyond the big fat style: they are gobblers-viewers (fortunately some are fun enough to find some kind of social commentary in a thoroughly uninteresting yet colorful dud, ha).
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