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A Blade in the Dark (1983)

La casa con la scala nel buio (original title)
Unrated | | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 6 August 1983 (Italy)
A killer stalks a composer staying at a posh Tuscany villa while writing the score to a horror film which has an incriminating clue to the killer's identity.


Lamberto Bava


Dardano Sacchetti (story and screenplay), Elisa Briganti (story and screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Andrea Occhipinti ... Bruno
Anny Papa Anny Papa ... Sandra
Fabiola Toledo ... Angela
Michele Soavi ... Tony Rendina
Valeria Cavalli ... Katia (as Valéria Cavalli)
Stanko Molnar ... Giovanni
Lara Lamberti ... Julia Rubini (as Lara Naszinski)


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 <bjwright@acs.ucalgary.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When the lights go out, the knife goes in. See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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 »


Bruno: Tennis balls?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 18-rated UK Vestron video release of this film in 1987 was cut by 1 minute and 50 seconds by the BBFC with edits to scenes of gore and heavy cuts to the bathroom murder. The 2001 Vipco DVD restores all the BBFC cuts and features the expanded Italian print. This runs around 12 minutes longer and includes extra (non-gore) scenes including night scenes of Bruno exploring the house and more red herrings & build-ups to murder scenes. See more »


Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »

User Reviews

Pretty enjoyable Argento pastiche.
27 November 2003 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

Okay, Lamberto Bava isn't anywhere near as talented as his father Mario. Let's just accept that and move on. 'A Blade In The Dark' is a surprisingly entertaining giallo that is equal parts Argento and Hitchcock, though obviously not as accomplished as either at their best. If I specify which Hitchcock it is heavily inspired by it'll give the whole game away, so I won't, but I'm sure most viewers will have guessed the twist long before it is revealed. It doesn't really matter, it won't detract from your enjoyment. Andrea Occhipinti from Fulci's 'The New York Ripper' plays Bruno, a young composer who rents a villa while working on a horror movie score. Pretty soon assorted lovelies start disappearing and he fears the worst. He also begins to think the movie he's working on holds the key to the mysterious events around him. The version I watched of this movie was very badly dubbed but it was still effective and stylishly directed, with some gruesome touches. Occhipinti was more than adequate as a hero, there were plenty of babes, and Eurohorror buffs will get a kick out of seeing the kid from Fulci's 'The House By The Cemetery' in a bit part and Michele Soavi (Argento pal and director of cult favourite 'Dellamorte Dellamore') in a supporting role. While I don't think 'A Blade In The Dark' is quite as good as Bava's first 'Demons' movie I enjoyed it a LOT more than I expected, so if you like Argento and Fulci, check it out.

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English | Italian

Release Date:

6 August 1983 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

A Blade in the Dark See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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