A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.
Isabella, a young model is murdered by a mysterious masked figure at a boarding house run by Max Morlan and his lover Countess Christina Como. When Isabella's boyfriend is suspected of the killing, her diary, which apparently has some incriminating evidence linking her to the killer, disappears, the masked killer begins killing off all the models in and around the house to find the diary.Written by
UK cinema and early video versions were cut by the BBFC to heavily edit the violence in the murder scenes including a woman being battered against a tree trunk, the bathtub killing, the gauntlet murder and shots of Peggy being held against a hot stove. The UK censor cuts were restored in the 2000 Nouveaux video release though the film was missing an overhead shot of blood flowing in the bathtub water. See more »
An upper-crust European fashion salon is having a devil of a time keeping girls working for it in this unique, visually breath-taking Mario Bava film. One fashion model after another dies a horrible death: one strangled, another failing to accept the gauntlet too soon, one having her face pushed into a hot iron, and so on. After watching this film, there will be almost no doubt at all how much Mario Bava influenced modern directors - and no one more particularly than Dario Argento. Bava's use of color, his choice of murder victims, his mystery of cat with mouse and then dog chasing cat(police on trail of murderer) are all signature trademarks of Argento's work. Blood and Black Lace is perhaps the most stylish, stunning film I have seen in terms of how color is used in every frame. From the opening credits with a great rhythmic score, hues of every shade permeate the screen. Bava uses colors like no other director I have ever seen attempt to do so with the exception of Argento. Watch Suspiria by Argento and closely look at how he uses blues and reds and tell me Bava is not written all over it! Blood and Black Lace has all the colors and it is really like a moving canvas. Bava is the artist controlling lighting, shading, and depth perception. I know I am gushing, but this is one beautiful film. The story, at least for me, is a secondary matter. It is a good story. I knew who the murderer was fairly quickly, but Bava does throw in some red herrings that will at least have you second guessing yourself. The actors are all pretty good. Cameron Mitchell plays a guy running the salon with his wife, played VERY ably by the lovely Eva Bartok. I had trouble taking my eyes off her as well as the rest of the beautiful European models. Luciano Pigozzi has a small role. You might remember him as the Italian character actor with the Peter Lorre face and eyes. Blood and Black Lace is certainly one of Bava's best films. Not his best though - Black Sunday wins that hands down. But this film is definitely his greatest in terms of artistic merit. It is a visual masterpiece and Bava deserves so much more credit as an innovative, creative force in film than he receives.
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