Kyle Cubr reviews “Blood and Black Lace” for Cine-File Chicago

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Mario Bava’s BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is the director’s second foray into giallo filmmaking, but its rippling influence can be see later on in the work’s of Dario Argento (especially SUSPIRIA) and American slasher films of the 1980’s. A masked figure, dressed in black and looking akin to H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, stalks and kills women of an Italian fashion houseAfter the police become involved, a notebook with incriminating evidence on all of the models surfaces amongst one of the victim’s belongings. Everyone remains a suspect in this whodunit, as alibis are examined and the body count continues to grow. Bava’s film is full of breathtaking imagery; an explosion of bright colors and ominous shadows paint the frames, providing ominous hiding places in which the killer could be hiding in every scene. Many sequences at the fashion house as well as at some of the characters’ homes feature standing mannequins, adding to the sense of foreboding. Bava’s extensive use of the color red not only reminds the viewer of the danger that is ever-present but also heightens the film’s themes of passion, jealousy, and violence. The film’s jazz lounge-esque score adds a smooth fluidity that compliments the onscreen actions. BLOOD AND BLACK LACE maintains a level of morbid intimacy as the murders are presented in close-up shots, with looks of terror on the victim’s face and unyielding hands used to perform the deed. It is a cornerstone film in the entire giallo pantheon.

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