Blood and Black Lace
a.k.a. Sei donne per l’assassino
This is a film I’ve seen in a number of different versions over the years, most of them claiming to be uncut. Finally, however, the definitive version appears to have arrived. This release from VCI is completely uncut and jammed packed with extras, including a comparison between cut and uncut versions just so you know what you’ve been missing.
I’m not going to summarise the plot, because there isn’t a lot more to it than beautiful women being murdered by a masked assailant using some kind of spiked, mace-like glove as a weapon. However, any fan of Bava knows that the plot is almost irrelevant. It’s the style that counts and this one has got plenty of style, from the fashion house setting to the genre defining primary colours.
This is really where the Giallo genre takes off placing the brutal murders on centre stage rather than the detective work as in The Girl Who Knew Too Much. In other, later Giallo classics, such as What Have You Done to Solange and Profondo Rosso, the amateur detective work plays and important part in the plot development. Here though, as in Bava’s A Bay of Blood, it is the inventiveness and brutality of the murders themselves that hold the audience’s attention.
The two lead roles are taken by Cameron Mitchell, Buck Cannon in TV’s The High Chaparral , and Hungarian Beauty, Éva Bartók, but there are so many characters (mostly to be murdered)here that there is little time foe character development. Performances are typical of Italian genre cinema, but that only goes to enhance the hyper-reality that Bava creates in this film.
This is an essential purchase for all Bava fans, even if you’ve already got another version. My only gripe is the sleeve design (see lower picture) which is tacky to say the least. I know we’re not taking about high art here, but style is the main selling point of Bava and this certainly does not suggest style.