Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960) and Black Sabbath (1963) were world wide commercial successes. As a consequence, Bava was given creative control over Blood and Black Lace. An Italian-West German co-production, the film’s backers were expecting a routine murderer-on-the-loose yarn in the Edgar Wallace-tradition. In Europe during the early 1960’s, movies based on the murder mystery novels of the incredibly prolific Wallace had become a mini-genre of their own. Forty or so of these movies were ultimately made, most of them produced in West Germany. Although some of the murder sequences could be vicious, the emphasis was on the police procedural and mystery aspects of the narrative. Continue reading
A wealthy heiress and landowner dies under mysterious circumstances (her husband did it, but don’t worry, he was done in too), and anyone with a minute claim to her property shows up to collect. The would-be heirs and heiresses start offing each other in increasingly creative and graphic ways, along with some dimwitted teenagers that stop by the bay looking for a party. Basically, it’s Ten Little Indians on the bay.
Classic giallo films can be divided into two camps.
On one hand we have Dario Argento’s The Bird with Crystal Plumage and its followers. These films have a strong main protagonist, who is trying to piece a visual enigma together to find out the killer. The protagonist is often accused of the murders himself and is paired with a character of the opposite sex.
On the other hand we have Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace and similar bodycount films. There is no central character. The story is told through many characters of equal importance. Similar to famous first half of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers the audience cannot be sure which roles different characters play. They can turn out to be victims, red herrings or maniacal killers. Continue reading
In the 9th Century, two Viking children, separated since their early childhood with one raised by the British and the other by Vikings, meet after nearly 20 years as rivals as war breaks out between Britian and the Vikings for control of England. Continue reading