Vivid visuals, cold killings, and plenty of pulchritude fill the screen from beginning to end in the fully restored, unrated and uncut DVD. The strangulation killings and scenes of torture are pretty shocking, even by present standards — and this is probably because, unlike some modern filmmakers who just go for the gore, Bava doted on themes of dread, fear, and suspense leading up to the bloody bits. That's what makes this somewhat dated fright flick still scary, nearly 45 years after its first theatrical release.
The imagery in Blood and Black Lace, exploited to the limit in vibrant Technicolor, is truly sumptuous: the main location for the murderer's misdeeds, Christiana Haute Couture, is architectured just like a classic haunted house. Furthermore the set decoration, with its blood-red velvet-flocked manikins, shadowy dress forms, dark dressing rooms and creepy closets sets the perfect stage for murders most foul. The characters, each one stretched to the limit just shy of caricature, are compulsively watchable, and the mystery includes just enough of them to keep you guessing throughout.
Staci Layne Wilson
Fernando F. Croce