April 8, 1965 [Blood and Black Lace]

Blood and Black Lace revels in the varied faults, sins and depravities of its victims--all of whom begin as suspects, until these little Italian Indians fall down, leaving us with the ugliest of them all unveiled and dispatched. The backdrop is a house of couture, a wild scene, baby, that is punished for being its rotten little self. There is something almost smug in such fatal reprimands; and Blood and Black Lace knows it, and plays all sides: It’s enthrallingly shot--while admonishing us for our indiscretions--and leeringly attentive to details soaked in titular blood-red and lacy black.

The plot doesn’t quite add up, and one must give either in or up. The director, Mario Bava, mix-masters the aesthete, the moralist, and the hedonist--with attendant ugly giggles, tsk-tsks, and gasps--to whip up (so to speak) delicious dainties in shapes one would prefer not to put in one's mouth.


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