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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.

Director:

Lamberto Bava

Writers:

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

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

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

Taglines:

When the lights go out, the knife goes in.


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Bruno: Tennis balls?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2001 UK release is 13.5 mins longer than previous version. The BBFC site says that 2mins of cuts have been restored and the rest is additional material See more »

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User Reviews

 
Patchwork giallo
29 December 2016 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

"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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