A middle-aged woman, traumatized from the death of her adulterous lover, moves into a room at a New Orleans boarding house where the blind landlord becomes suspicious to her activities of continuing her affair with her dead lover.
Convinced that her father's death was not accidental, a beautiful girl decides to investigate to find out the truth, aided by her boyfriend. Her sleuthing draws her to a local mortuary, where many secrets will be revealed.
Mary Beth McDonough,
A former hooker runs a successful men's magazine. An obsessed admirer systematically slaughters her models (occasionally increasing the magazine's output) and supplies the mistress with ... See full summary »
Traumatized by her mother's death, young Susan is becoming possessed by the same demon that possessed her mother before she died. More and more her husband and psychiatrist are noticing the... See full summary »
A detective embarks on a mission to track down a woman in L.A.'s seedy nightclubs, only to come face-to-face with a blood-thirsty cult of lethally beautiful prostitutes. Is he the next victim of Hollywood's demented Chainsaw Hookers?
Fred Olen Ray
John Henry Richardson
A composer, working in isolation on a score for a horror movie meets two women who used to know his house's former tenant. When the women disappear, he's forced to look into the film he's working on to determine what happened to them, and who's responsible.Written by
Brian J. Wright <email@example.com>
Director Lamberto Bava said in an interview that he liked the American title for the film (A Blade in the Dark) much better than the Italian title (House of Dark Stairs). Bava felt that particular title captured the film much better. See more »
Near the beginning of the movie the blade is seen cutting an adult magazine across the woman's right breast (from our point of view). Shortly afterwards when the composer examines the mysterious cuts in the magazine the slice marks appear across the left breast (from our point of view). See more »
"A Blade in the Dark" follows a musical composer staying in a remote Tuscan villa to work on the score of a horror movie. A series of murders begin to occur in the villa after his arrival, sparking local interest.
Directed by Mario Bava's son, Lamberto Bava, "A Blade in the Dark" is one of the later giallo films to come to fruition, debuting in 1983. Haphazardly dubbed in English (which, as others have noted, is some of the worst dubbing you're likely to ever see), the narrative twists and turns in relatively predictable ways, though there are a few nice surprises to be had, and Bava toys with the movie-within-a-movie trope by having the protagonist scoring a horror film.
The film does succeed at achieving a relatively strong atmosphere, and the hilltop Italian villa locations are breathtaking and eerie. There are some great murder sequences as well, and the film strikes a nice balance between suspense and violence. The performances are decent, although the aforementioned dubbing does distract a bit. The ending is clever and very much in line with the film's giallo dedications, as absurd as it may be.
Overall, "A Blade in the Dark" is, like many films of its type, atmospherically and visually interesting, but narratively convoluted. As an early-eighties entry into the giallo subgenre, it doesn't do much to distinguish itself, and that is where its biggest problem lies. It is reasonably suspenseful, however, and warrants a view from genre fans. Just don't expect Lamberto to live up to his father's legacy. 6/10.
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