Though the original Italian title translates to "Six Women for an Assassin," the American title, Blood and Black Lace, is far more evocative of the psychosexual nature of this elegant slasher picture. The thin plot concern... more »s a respected Italian fashion house, a murdered model, cocaine, and a tell-all diary that seems to implicate just about everyone connected with the house of style. The disappearance of the diary initiates a wholesale slaughter of the remaining models. Mario Bava's stylish exercise in mayhem lovingly delivers every elaborate killing with dreamy assurance. As the stalker, a faceless figure wrapped up in a trench coat, makes a move for his next gorgeous victim, Bava's prowling camera snakes through sets, rushes down hallways, and generally takes off like a low-budget Hitchcock flick on speed. By contrast, Bava runs through the police investigations with a perfunctory air--the lifeless scenes, which aren't helped by the flat English dubbing, feel like he's marking time between the murders--and when the identity of the black-clad killer is revealed it almost seems beside the point. As the narrative melts into a near abstract display of choreography and color (with an often troubling misogynist edge), exposition and psychological explanations seem oddly out of place in this elaborate dance of death. As a traditional thriller it lacks any genuine thrill, but as a piece of cinematic spectacle it has moments of dreamy, disconnected beauty. --Sean Axmaker« less
Don't let go of your old copy, this is a mixed blessing.
Jeffrey W. Haddon | Matoaca, VA. USA | 02/06/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"1 star is for the DVD, 5 stars for the movie. I don't need to say anything about the film; those familiar with Bava's work know this is among his masterpieces. I'm writing this review to clear up some things about this new "Unslashed" edition. On the positive side, this version is Anamorphic widescreen and it does present noticeably more picture information on the right and left sides of the frame (the old VCI version was leterboxed a 1.66:1, where as this one is 16 x 9). Now the bad news. The color and contrast have been boosted/altered to the point that the image appears blurrier, grainier and more damaged than the previous version. Also, the interior sets (especially in the fashion house) have a putrid yellow/green hue to them not present in the old version. The soundtrack is horribly remixed, making the dialogue sound like it was recorded in a tin can and it pops quite a bit through the opening of the film. The French and Italian audio channels are reversed. None of these audio problems are present on the old version by the way. To top it off, the dvd menus are gaudy and offputting, trying to make this seem like a bloody slasher pic. In summution, the extra picture information just doesn't outweigh all of the drawbacks of this edition. My advice is to hold on to your old release until something better comes along. Thanks for reading. -JWH-"
A Landmark Horror Movie
Daniel Kepley | Viola, DE USA | 01/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mario Bava, the founding father of Italian horror (see my BLACK SUNDAY/THE MASK OF SATAN review), was a real trendsetter with his innovative camera tricks (he was a cameraman as well) and cinematic mastery. Every one of his movies changed the face of horror worldwide. But BLOOD AND BLACK LACE may just well be the most influential and ground-breaking movie in his distinguished career!
A fashion house in Italy becomes a slaughterhouse when the diary of one of the models is discovered. It seems that there is some unsavory material within the diary concerning the models. Everyone is after the diary, and in fact somebody even goes as far as to bump off a few people for the diary. Who will survive?
See folks, this is where the Italian giallo, the career of Dario Argento (my favorite Italian horror director), and the slasher film began. When I saw BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, I gained a new understanding of Italian horror and how cool it is. It's all right here: wild camera moves (achieved on a red wagon!), lighting in different colors (echoing EC Comics long before George Romero gave it a shot in CREEPSHOW and even before the first TALES FROM THE CRYPT movie in 1972), gorgeous but ill-fated women, psychosexually motivated mayhem, and of course truly awesome murder sequences! Yes indeed, we can all thank Mario Bava for the state of Italian horror in its heyday and for all those slasher movies that have come out recently because Mario Bava singlehandedly shaped the state of modern, non-Gothic/supernatural horror in just 90 minutes of murder and mayhem!
VCI's DVD is a testament to this movie's significance in horror history. The audio commentary by Bava expert Tim Lucas provides a treasure trove of trivia for Bava buffs and Italian horror fans alike! Best of all, the presentation is uncut and in widescreen, complete with the original opening title sequence (which was truly awesome and evocative) and restored murder sequences which are as cringe-worthy as anything Tom Savini could come up with! We have the American title sequence (courtesy of Filmation Studios, the animators of Fat Albert and He-Man) and French title sequence, and much, much more! A truly ground-breaking horror film, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is a definite must-watch!"
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 10/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many have said this movie is misogynistic. I won't get into that. To be fair, I would have to say that it is disturbing to a degree, but also a stylish shocker done by a master film maker that is highly watchable if you're not squeamish. The world of haute couture is a perfect place to present a murder thriller in that it affords the limitless opportunities of playing with color, showcasing beautiful women and providing a host of possible villains...and victims. Bava does all of this in classic continental style. The victims are beautiful fashion models, the murders are violent and ,in some cases, gory. The settings of the salon and showrooms are garish with lots of red and black. The murder set pieces are scary, bizarre and done to the hilt. The storyline has some cohesence with enough sordid details to make it juicy. VCI has done the film marvelous justice on DVD and it looks beautiful. All in all, an engrossing horror film that continues to satisfy Bava and giallo fans and a collector's treat as well. Enjoy this one."
Great film, lousy dvd
IKCWMBFD | 08/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Just to back up the very critical review of this dvd below, this is a major disappointment: the one star is for the quality of the dvd release, not the film, which is one of Bava's best pictures. The image here is really substandard, way below what should be expected from any serious dvd release in this day and age. Although it is anamorphic, it would be hard to call this in any way improved over the first VCI release; if anything, in sharpness and color, it might actually be worse. That a dvd release this mediocre is a rerelease is a travesty; if they want to get people to upgrade and buy again, it should be for a better product. Stay away from this one and hope for another version to come. I had heard bad things but ordered anyway since it was relatively inexpensive, hoping that Tim Lucas's involvement would mean that this was a quality dvd; unfortunately, not the case."
Guido | NY United States | 01/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Italian Giallo's are an acquired taste. If you like one, most likely you'll like most of them if they're done correctly. Mario Bava was a pioneer when it came to Giallo's his original ideas and terrific use of light, colors and shadows would be seen for years in future Giallo's.
Bava's "Blood and Black Lace" is a prime example of what a Giallo should contain. Simple plot; An unknown, masked and crazed killer is running about, slashing beautiful super models. Of course with any Giallo, made in the 60's and 70's, you can expect bad acting and terrible dubbing but because of Bava's brilliance you don't care. His legendary tactics are portrayed brilliantly throughout the film. The amazing use of colors and shadows and, the key element to almost any Giallo, the black gloved hands of the killer.
Bava's influence would be seen in many more great Giallo films, including films by the phenomenal Dario Argento. Like Argento, Bava films are an acquired taste and if you're not a fan of the Giallo style films, more than likely you will not enjoy Bava's "Blood and Black Lace". However if you're an avid fan of the director or The Giallo films from the 60's and 70's you'll find this more than enjoyable. Recommended for fans of The Giallo style only."