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us title: Blood and Black Lace
italian title: Sei donne per l'assassino
year: 1964
director: Mario Bava
composer: Carlo Rustichelli
full details: IMDB
overall score: 64

Bottom Line: Must-See
A quintessential example of the genre.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

More than any other film, Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace is credited for ushering in the arrival of the Giallo in 1964. While his previous offering, The Girl Who Knew Too Much (released the previous year) is the first known example of the genre migrating from literature to film, Blood and Black Lace establishes a style that distinguishes the Giallo as something more than just a mere literary adaptation. The film is full of colors, sultry music, gothic locations, and a cast of sinister characters who all suffer from varying degrees of paranoia.

Against the scrutiny of the Giallo Score, it doesn't fare very well. But Blood and Black Lace should really be regarded as the grandfather of the genre. Way ahead of its time (5 years before the Giallo really took off) and with only Film Noir, Hammer, and Krimi as inspiration, Blood and Black Lace is a landmark film - a true original that should be granted total amnesty from the Giallo Score.

Nevertheless, let's see what's missing here:

  • As mentioned above, the film pre-dates the classic period.

  • There is no amateur detective here, just a very Nazi-like police inspector and a bunch of paranoid suspects.

  • Nude scenes were rare for popular films of this time period.

  • Morricone and Nicolai seemed to have been busy with other things (primarily Spaghetti Westerns).

  • The film only scores three points in the Signatures section, which makes sense since these signatures really hadn't been established yet.

In addition, technically the killer's identity is revealed earlier than the end of the film. But I think it's hidden long enough to earn the points.

But none of this should detract from the fact that if it weren't for Blood and Black Lace, it's very likely that either the Giallo would have never existed or at the very least not been nearly as popular. Bava, like Argento, was constantly reinventing himself through his films. From here, Bava would return in 1970 with a satirical Giallo (Five Dolls for an August Moon), and then again in 1971 with his Giallo/Slasher (Twitch of the Death Nerve) which (once again) influenced an entire generation of filmmakers.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 40/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Motivation: Blackmail/Gain5 points
Avoid Capture: Killed by Police or other character5 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 21/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Italian Location3 points
Mistaken Identity2 points
More than one killer or accomplice4 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 3/10
Bathtub Murder1 point
Dolls/Dummies1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Total Points : 64/100



My second favorite giallo of all time, and my 28th favorite horror movie overall.

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Published: 2012-09-18