Review: Blood and Black Lace
Blu-ray: Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Mario Bava is the undoubted Godfather of Giallo. Giving fresh life to the horror genre in a way that was to be mimicked and repeated for decades. ‘Blood and Black Lace’ is Bava’s Giallo masterpiece. Having already made the perfect Gothic Horror ‘Black Sunday’ (AKA ‘The Mask of Satan’) in 1960 and then the genre classic ‘Black Sabbath’ in 1963. (both available by Arrow Films) Bava made Blood and Black Lace in 1964. Here we have a perfect vintage example of Giallo in its purest and most stylish form. Bava’s use of psychedelic colours is one of the most influential tools in horror cinema. The genre owes almost everything to Bava, without him and especially this film we certainly wouldn’t have the incredible legacy of Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava or the modern homage’s such as Amer, Berberian Sound Studio and even I consider Verhoeven’s ‘Basic Instinct’ a Giallo throwback. (See also Edgar Wrights ‘DONT!’ trailer on Tarantino’s Grindhouse). Arrow have remastered the print in 2K HD and literally breathed new life into Bava’s exquisite cinematography. The colours explode from the screen and I can only imagine Bava would have applauded the love and attention lavished on this film.
Starring movie legend Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok and Thomas Reiner. The plot is what we now know as ‘classic giallo’. A masked killer brutally murders beautiful young women as a detective/s tries to solve the mystery of ‘Who done it?’ As with all Giallo films the masochistic undertones are all present as well as the deviant sexuality of the murderer. This film is not without genuine scares or brilliant tension. The killer jumps out from every dark corner and in one scene we are shown the graphic torture and murder of a woman with a red hot stove, for a film 50 years old it’s still quite grim!
This film has a timeless feel like all Bava’s classics, the score is moody and memorable, sets are sumptuous and acting is brilliant. If you enjoy the neon lit mystery’s of Argento’s supernatural thrillers such as Inferno or Suspiria (also available from Arrow Films) you need this classic film in your collection!
Special Features on this Bluray release are exceptional. Anyone new to Bava has a wealth of extra content to educate them on Bava’s style and influence. For seasoned horror buffs like myself, wonderful insights and documentaries that make this another essential release from Arrow.
AUDIO COMMENTARY – by Tim Lucas who wrote the book ‘All the colours of the dark’ about Bava. Lucas commentary is pin sharp and full of trivia and knowledge…. he has the voice of a computer whose entire purpose is to tell us about every inch of Blood and Black Lace from production to score to the history and influence of Bava’s masterpiece. It’s at once brilliant and exhausting. So much to say about a film like this and he doesn’t hold back.
PSYCHO ANALYSIS – A documentary on Blood and Black Lace, its place in the world of Giallo and the history of this unique subgenre. Featuring interviews with nearly every important player involved in the world of Giallo from writers (Sandrone Dazieri, Steve Della Casa) to Directors (Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava).
HELENE CATTET & BRUNO FORZANI– An appreciation for Giallo and Bava from the film making team behind contemporized giallo film ‘Amer’. They speak of the influence of Bava’s work on their films and what ingredients make a great giallo.
YELLOW – A real treat of an extra here! Neo-noir thriller around half an hour long. The modern version of a giallo. In Berlin we follow an old man as he hunts for a brutal serial killer, beautifully shot and featuring a pulsing Goblin-Esq. score. Yellow is a wonderful little love letter to the genre.
GENDER and GIALLO – A visual essay by Michael Mackenzie, looking at the social coloration in the 60s and 70’s on the genre. A very interesting history lesson for anyone with an interest in film and the genre’s heritage.
BLOOD AND BAVA – A filmed discussion about Bava featuring Argento, Lamberto bava and Steve Della Casa FROM 2014.
THE SINISTER IMAGE – A vintage episode of David Del Valle’s TV show featuring Blood and Black Lace star and all round B-movie legend Cameron Mitchell. This is excellent! I had never heard of Sinister Image before and am now seeking out more of these shows!
US OPENING – This is an alternative credit sequence for the US release… geeky fact; the film was sourced from Joe Dante’s private print of the film. Cool.
Throw in a trailer for Blood and Black Lace and we have a stunning package from Arrow. Just buy it.
Review by Ramrod (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.