Blood and Black Lace (1964)

Article #601 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-6-2002
Posting date: 4-2-2003

Models are being murdered one by one by an unknown killer.

The English translation of the Italian title is “Six Women for the Murderer”, and since I’ve heard this movie described as the first “body count” movie, then I suppose it qualifies by mere dint of its numbering the murders (though whether the count is accurate is a matter I will not pursue at this point). I’ve heard it praised as a masterpiece of style and dismissed as a slasher movie. I can definitely attest to the style comment; the movie uses color, shadow, lighting and camera movement all exquisitely. There is also some truth to the slasher line, as I can’t help but notice that several of the murders go on much longer than I feel comfortable with, and it makes me suspect at times that I’m supposed to “enjoy” seeing the women tormented rather than be frightened for them. Still, it’s more than a slasher flick; ultimately, there is a coherent reason for each one of the murders (beyond the “he kills because he’s mad” sort of description), and this helps to give the movie more of a sense of purpose rather than being a mere exercise of sadism. And I have no problem enjoying the beauty of the cinematic style. Directed by Mario Bava, and featuring Cameron Mitchell.


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