Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Obscure Italian Horror: Blood and Black Lace

Welcome back to RottenReelzReviews!!! How's about some more Horror movies??!!! Yeah I am still on the Obscure Italian Horror Movie kick. This time around we are moving over to an old school director Mario Bava (Hercules in the Haunted World, Black Sunday, Evil Eye, A Bay of Blood and Baron Blood). This Godfather of Gore brings oddities of Horror, some disturbing giallos and many a demonic story arc. This is Blood and Black Lace.


A lovely young model Isabella (Francesca Ungaro of Forbidden Temptations and Blood and Black Lace) is brutally dispatched by some lunatic in a white cotton mask. Left at the grounds of the boarding house ran by Max Marian (Cameron Mitchell of How the West Was Won, Texas Detour, Fantasy Island, The Guns and the Fury, Kill Squad, Dixie Ray Hollywood Star, The Tomb, Space Mutiny and Demon Cop) and his lover, the widow Countess Cristina Como (Eva Bartok of Victoria and Her Hussar, Orient Express, Break in the Circle. The Gamma People, Naked in the Night, Operation Amsterdam, SOS Pacific and Beyond the Curtain).

The good Inspector Silvester (Thomas Reiner of Der Floh im Ohr, Die Rechnung- eiskalt serviert, The Three Fantastic Supermen, Das Kriminalmuseum, Die Spinnstube and The Black Forest Clinic) assigned to the case finds this all to be too convenient. Max insists he has no idea why such a thing would happen but he will offer whatever aid he can to the inspector. The fashion house they both run seems to have a seedy underbelly of corruption, blackmail, drug related charges and other various sins to it but the inspector cannot put both the Countess and Max directly to it when it is revealed that Isabella may have had a diary keeping track of all such vices and the people linked to it. 

Darling, our relationship is less likely to survive than a Hammer film for critique.

Another model Nicole (Ariana Gorini of Unexpected, Blood and Black Lace and the Revenge of Ivanhoe) finds the diary and promptly wants to take it to the police but another girl Peggy lifts the diary from Nicole's purse and has it for herself. No sooner does Nicole make off to an antique store to visit her wayward man that she is attacked by the same killer with a cestus (armored spiked gauntlet commonly used for gladiatorial games) crushing her face and killing her instantly. Tossing her purse and patting her down he finds no diary and super runs away.. Will the inspector figure out who is behind these murders and/or who is next?

Interesting thing about our movie is this is one of the earliest and most influential of all Giallo films and more or less set the tone for some of the early 80's slasher films in style and overall body count. Each of the murder scenes are unique involving unusual choices for dispatching death to these attractive women. The lighting giving off blues, greens, purples and reds seems to signify the moods of terror and helplessness. It is clearly were Scorsese and Dario Argento developed their need for that artistic flair in film.

The macabre atmosphere is well paced, doesn't develop the models more than two dimensional but give some genuine scares and unpredictable murders. The twists and turns of this 1964 psychological thriller really offered a lot more terror and gore than the 60's crowd really saw stateside. So if you like seeing pretty petty girls gacked, a web of lies and deceit unravel and some decent gore effects then you are in luck. I was very impressed with this rare gem of giallo.

Rorschach falls to petty thievery because...he doesn't have Bruce Wayne money.