A Color Story: Blood and Black Lace

Title: Blood and Black Lace
Year: 1964
Director: Mario Bava
Writer(s): Mario Bava, Marcello Fondato, Giusseppe Barilla
Producer(s): Massimo Patrizi, Alfredo Mirabile
Costume(s): Tina Grani
Cinematography: Ubaldo Terzano

Starring: Eva Bartok, Cameron Mitchell, Thomas Reiner, Claude Dantes and Dante Di Paolo

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One of the few Italian horror films I saw in a 100 Scariest Movie Moments (on Bravo) programming and the colors were the first thing that stuck out in the brief segment. From the top of my head, I can recall someone mentioning how it’s dark as hell in one moment of a scene and yet a beautiful woman, a model, in a red coat, is being chased down by the killer.

This, besides Suspiria, was my introduction of how amazingly colorful horror films could be, especially in the Italian genre.

Blood and Black Lace is visually beautiful. The colors are stunning, the lighting and combining Bava’s eye and Terzano’s talent together (worked together on Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, The Whip and The Body), it created an onscreen presence that from the opening credits to the end, set a tone of “this is not American cinema”.

Speaking of the opening credits, the colors there are just…chef’s kiss.

The entire movie is a murder mystery, a story of a very famous fashion house and its models are one by one being killed. The plot is very basic, a little weak and even I was more interested in the visuals than the actual narrative but nonetheless, it’s a good movie and a great introduction into the Italian horror field. I would actually recommend this film for a newbie in the genre.

Reds represent passion, anger, violence, negativity, impulsive, ritualistic
Purples are fantasy and power, delusions of grandeur
White is simply pure, innocence, cold and emptiness
Blue/Green, I’m combining both for this purpose, is loyalty, doing things its own way, manipulation, but also greed, selfish

I specifically picked these because centered around the film is a killer and the killer’s motives & reveal very much go hand in hand with how they act and are presented on screen. Was that intentional? No clue but considering how the creative process is, nothing is by coincidence.

Blood and Black Lace is available through streaming.

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