The Curator of Schlock #190 by Jeff Shuster

Blood & Black Lace

Bava! Bava! Bava!

 It’s August. It’s hot out. I have to do a theme for this month. I know. Let’s do another Giallo Month. I think I read on a “Best Horror Movies for Summer” list somewhere that giallo movies are good for summer because…I don’t remember. Maybe because Italy is hot? It seems like only yesterday when I venturing into the depths of Italian cinema. Actually, it was June. I covered poliziotteschi movies. I’ve tried to forget about that month, tried to forget about that poor little boy getting shot to death so that rich little boy’s daddy would pay the ransom! Gwaaaah! This world is a living hell!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

Uh. Where was I? Oh, yes. Tonight’s movie is the Mario Bava classic from 1964, Blood and Black Lace.

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I’ve got a bit of history with this movie. Years ago I bought a two disc special edition DVD of the film which was anything, but special. It had one of the worst transfers I’d ever seen for a movie on DVD. I’d seen VHS tapes than this faded, discolored print. I was so distracted by the shoddiness of this transfer, trying to envision what the Technicolor glory of the motion picture once was, that I couldn’t pay attention to the plot. 

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Turner Classic Movies aired Blood and Black Lace last October and I figured I’d record it to watch at a later date. I decide to watch it. Ron Perlman introduces the movie, calling it one of the earliest slasher movies. The movie starts and I am transfixed by the restored, beauty of the transfer, deep reds, purples, and greens painted with light that only a master like Bava could conceive. This Technicolor marvel proves so distracting that I start losing the plot right off the bat. 

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Blood and Black Lace is a whodunit at some kind of fashion school or company. The cast is well-dressed and well-coifed group, beautiful models and fashion designers. It stars Cameron Mitchell, a name I know I should be familiar with, but am not. There’s a guy wearing gray trench coat and gray fedora who’s murdering the women of this model agency. You can’t see his face because it’s wrapped up in some kind of tarp. There’s a particularly gruesome scene of him taking one of the model hands and pressing it against a hot cauldron.          

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It’s about this time that I get that itch, the itch to seek this movie out again to add it to my private library, do it right this time.

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Arrow Video has a restored Blu-ray of Blood & Black Lace. Ooh. They have a Steelbook. I always feel funny about buying Steelbooks. They’re so nice to look at, but I always worry about damaging them so I end up removing the Blu-rays and using a separate case for them with a fake cover I printed out from the Internet. I have a DVD obsession. I caught a video on YouTube last night. A camera crew enters the home middle-aged British guy, stuck living in a one-bedroom flat. Piles of books and VHS tapes are strewn around the apartment.  He can’t bear to part with any of them. He says the apartment is closing in one him. I imagine myself one day swimming in a sea shiny discs, a collection that will never be complete.

How wonderful.

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Jeffrey Shuster 4

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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