14th Apr2015

‘Blood and Black Lace’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Ariana Gorini, Dante DiPaolo, Mary Arden, Franco Ressel, Claude Dantes, Luciano Pigozzi, Lea Krugher, Massimo Righi | Written by Marcello Fondato | Directed by Mario Bava


Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace may not be the first Giallo film but it is the one that many took inspiration from and the genre itself formed from, especially the themes and style.  When a young model is killed by a mysterious masked figure she leaves behind a diary which may hold evidence as to the identity of her assailant.  As more women from the same fashion house die at the hands of the killer the police try to find the culprit.  In a tale of blood and blackmail, can they stop the killer before it is too late?

Blood and Black Lace is a movie that flits not only between genres but also somewhat bravely for its time takes risks in filmmaking that have given it a history of controversy and censorship.  The older it gets though the more respected it becomes, especially because of the influence it had on directors such as Dario Argento who along with Bava is seen as one of the more successful directors of the Giallo movies.  You can’t help but notice many things other directors have “borrowed” from Bava too, he was a director truly ahead of his time.  With typical psychedelic lighting and a particularly vicious and sadistic style of horror Blood and Black Lace is a surprising vicious merging between murder mystery and slasher that while arguably misogynistic in nature is still a true classic that defined the rules for more than one horror movie genre.

Arrow Video have really outdone themselves with this release, especially for fans of Mario Bava, Giallo and Italian horror.  The 2K restoration of Blood and Black Lace really brings out the psychedelic colours which are so important to the film, and here we have the film in its original form, with the original credits at the beginning of the film restored (with the American titles available in the special features).  English and Italian soundtracks are available and newly translated subtitles have been added.

When it comes to the special features the documentaries included are a Psycho Analysis of Blood and Black Lace and a look at the origins of the giallo genre and also a visual essay on Gender and Giallo by Michael Mackenzie.  This essay is very interesting as it gives the viewer a full understanding of exactly what Giallo movies are and how they relate to both sexes, giving a good understanding of the genre.  If that’s not enough there is also the excellent Yellow, a Neo-Giallo short by Ryan Hansom and Jon Britt.

Even though Blood and Black Lace was released in 1964 it is easy to see that this is one of the earliest slashers brought to the audience.  Even with its age the violence is shocking, and for its time there are certain scenes which were surprising, especially to people who would attack the movie for the its non-politically correct style.  Mario Bava was a director ahead of his time, and when you watch a film like Blood and Black Lace in many ways it could be argued that he is still ahead of his time when it comes to many of the horror directors today.

Arrow Video have really outdone themselves with this release, especially for horror fans.  We get to see the film in all its uncut glory and with the wealth of special features, especially the short film Yellow this is Giallo heaven.  If you ever had questions about what exactly the Giallo genre was then watch this Blu-ray, Blood and Black Lace may not have been the first, but it is the ones that set the rules.  For that reason alone this is a must see classic, especially with such an excellent release from Arrow Video.

***** 5/5

Blood and Black Lace is available on dual format DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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