Listing for Thursday's Cine Salon:
BLOOD AND BLACK LACE
(1964, Dir. Mario Bava)
Allmovie.com plot synopsis:
Director Mario Bava's second thriller revolves around a fashion salon owned by wealthy Cristina (Eva Bartok) and her greedy lover Max (Cameron Mitchell). The salon is a front for cocaine-trafficking and blackmail, so when model Isabella (Lea Kruger) is viciously strangled, leaving a detailed diary behind, many of the people connected with the salon become very nervous.
The very first slasher film, though that label belittles Bava's achievement somewhat. Unlike later hack-em-up directors, Bava is very conscious of the links between the viewer and the cinematic process. By encouraging the viewer to identify with the killer's pleasure-i.e., we think the killings are beautiful in the same way that he no doubt does-Bava makes a very powerful statement on the power of the image. The characters are flat and one-dimensional, because they need to be. There are no heroes, only victims. The police are depicted as arrogant and ineffectual, in contrast to most films of this era, Bava does not encourage the viewer to identify with anyone beyond the killer. Within the microcosmic environment of the fashion salon, Bava makes some telling comments on society, as well. Visionary filmmaking at its best.