BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Blood and Black Lace (1964) - Blu-ray Review

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Blood and Black Lace - Blu-ray Review

The gore!  The women!  The style!  The masterpiece that is Blood and Black Lace is now on blu-ray thanks to VCI Home Entertainment and their stunning BRAND NEW 2K restoration from the original film negative.

Words cannot express just how influential Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace has been (and continues to be) upon filmmakers since its debut in 1964.  Tarantino sites the bloody film, high in the body count department, as an influence and, hell, there is an ENTIRE genre of Italian giallo films that owe their very existence to the groundbreaking style that Bava, bored by the whodunit tropes of the script, implemented here. 

"Those American slashers you love so much?  They begin with Blood and Black Lace."


Blood and Black Lace, bucking contemporary trends, begins with a mesmerizing opening title sequence that is all shadows and glamour.  Faceless black mannequins seen sitting through diffused colored light.  The hue is pink and bright colors sparkle every which way as the cast is introduced via lone profile tracking shots situated around a salon.  It is ingenious, yet the effect went unappreciated here in the states and was replaced by an animated sequence.  Americans never got to see what made Bava so incredibly gifted as a visual artist.

With even more visual flair provided by cinematographer Ubaldo Terzano and costumes by Tina Grani, Bava quickly gets us thrust into the deep night of shadows as one of the models, Isabella (Francesca Ungaro) is attacked by a masked killer.  Except, Bava doesn’t give us the usual feigned attack.  No, this attack is aggressive and heated and it involves being beaten against a tree trunk.  It is also visually unnerving, lasting far longer than audiences might have been used to.  We pity this poor woman as the attack continues. . .

. . . and Bava is just getting started with the kills.  One gets her bath ruined.  Another gets it with a gauntlet.  I could go on and it is all because one outrageous fashion house in Rome is in need of some seriously cleansing.  Starring Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Arianna Gorini, and Thomas Reiner as the ice-cold Inspector Sylvester, to say that this poorly received slasher didn’t break the whodunit mold is indeed an understatement.

Blood and Black Lace - Blu-ray Review

Ignoring the mystery tropes of the static mystery genre and ramping up the style, complete with near-naked models and buckets of blood, to fit alongside he cool location of Rome was indeed the right choice for Bava to make.  Desperation led him to some of the unscripted camera angles, but the shots – tracking and all – work to create an ingenious stamp for an entire movement in cinema to follow.  

Blood and Black Lace might have gone nowhere when it came to the states as a heavily edited murder mystery, but its uncut legacy, presented here with this fantastic 2-Disc release, is monumental.  Ratcheting up the sex and violence and downplaying much of the sleuthing turned out to be just the ticket Bava needed to reenergize himself and the state of horror in Italy.

Those American slashers you love so much?  They begin with Blood and Black Lace

5 beers

blood and black lace

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
88 mins
Director
: Mario Bava
Writer:
Marcello Fondato
Cast:
Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
In BLEEDING color!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Perhaps the sight of beauty makes him lose control of himself, so he kills."
Theatrical Distributor:
Allied Artists Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 7, 1965
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 23, 2018
Synopsis: In BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, an unscrupulous business operating under the guise of a top fashion house with exotic models running sexual favors, cocaine dealings and blackmail, becomes a murder scene—after someone is pushed to the edge. The saga begins when a beautiful model is brutally murdered, and her boyfriend, a known addict supplying her drugs, is suspected of the crime…but is he guilty or is someone waiting in the shadows setting him up?

Blood and Black Lace - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Blu-ray + DVD

Home Video Distributor: VCI
Available on Blu-ray
- October 23, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English; Spanish
Audio:
English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The 1080p transfer from VCI Entertainment, with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, is the best the film has ever looked before.  Mined from the original elements, the disc offers the original Italian version of the film without the cuts.  Originally filmed in English, this includes that track.  Both discs – one the blu-ray and the other the DVD –  are crisp with bright colors and fine details.  For a film from 1964, the fact that only a couple of scenes are murky speaks volumes about the source material.  Skin tones are perfectly natural throughout and contrast, as well as its DTS-HD Mono audio track, is super clean, tight, and super groovy.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features!

Special Features:

The celebration of this release continues with a solid collection of supplemental material. 

2018 Commentary by Kat Ellinger, Editor-in-Chief and author, Diabolique Magazine

2018 Commentary by film historian and David Del Valle & director/writer, C Courtney Joyner

Video Interview with Mary Dawne Arden

Archival video interview with star, Cameron Mitchell, with David Del Valle

Original American Theatrical Trailer, plus Italian, German and French trailers

Bonus Trailers of other Bava films

Extensive Photo Gallery

Alternate original Italian or original US theatrical main titles

Languages: Original Italian, English, French

Subtitles: English & Spanish

Bonus Music Tracks by composer Carlo Rustichelli

Video Comparison: American Version Cuts / Euro Uncut

2-Sided Coverwrap with Alternate Cover Art

blood and black lace

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