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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 Anchor Bay release titled "A Blade in the Dark" is the complete, uncut version of the film, containing all the violence and gore. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paura: Lucio Fulci Remembered - Volume 1 (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sadistic violence, a compelling score and not much of a plot. Welcome to Bava's textbook Giallo!
2 August 2004 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Lamberto Bava, son of the greatest director of all time – Mario Bava, suffers from an unhealthy obsession to face his audiences with some of the most nauseating and gross images ever. He previously did so in `Demoni', while using a terrific gimmick and appealing black humor. Demoni still ranks as his most famous film. In this `A blade in the Dark', he tries to mix his typically sadistic violence with tension and mystery…but fails shamefully.

The plot and style is textbook Giallo stuff. During the entire film minus the last five minutes, walls of mystery are built up around the killer's identity. The `whodunit' is overstressed and it all results in far-fetched nonsense. In this case: A woman (?) who brutally slaughters young girls inside a luxurious mansion. The new tenant of this mansion is Bruno, a music composer hired to provide a new horror film with a compelling and ominous score. Bruno discovers there are a lot of similarities between the script of this particular film and the real-life murders. Bava enthusiastically focuses on the mystery so much he doesn't realize the climax actually is real dull and déja-vu. Also, the film isn't entirely worth its controversial status. Sure, the murders are disgusting and explicit, but not different or more repulsive than the ones shown in any other Italian Giallo. The most positive aspect about `A blade in the Dark' is the excellent score. The loud music, warning you someone is about to die gruesomely, is far more exiting and `horrific' as the crime itself. Apart from a few top-creepy moments (tennis balls falling from the ceiling), this film isn't highly memorable.

Although not as notorious as `A blade in the Dark', I strongly advise to check out another Bava Giallo. `Foto di Gioia', a.k.a Delirium, which is a lot more imaginative and it doesn't take itself as serious. Not to mention it features Italy's most beautiful woman, Serena Grandi.


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