Thursday, April 23, 2020

A BLADE IN THE DARK (1983) directed by Lamberto Bava

“This is all the whiskey you possess?”

Originally conceived as a four-part miniseries for Italian television, Lamberto Bava’s late-to-the-game giallo A BLADE IN THE DARK debuted in Italian theaters in 1983 after being deemed too gory for the masses.

The plot is pretty textbook giallo with composer Bruno (Andrea Occhipinti) hired by Sandra (Any Papa) to score her thrilling new film. He retreats to a secluded villa owned by Tony (Michele Soavi) and it’s not long before he’s hearing mysterious sounds and encountering Katia (Valerie Cavalli), the kooky neighbor who discovered a secret about Linda, the villa’s previous occupant.

Before you can say “Creepy Caretaker”, Katia and other beautiful women start falling prey to a box cutter-wielding killer while Bruno wanders the grounds looking for clues. If you’ve seen pretty much ANY of the genre’s previous entries you’ll piece together the story long before the episodic script gets you there, but Baby Bava’s flick is packed with enough flourishes to make it an entertaining ride. There’s memorable music highlighted by creepy laughter; a price of admission bathroom slaying that is among the most brutal of the genre; red herrings galore; some hysterically poor dubbing; and, a parade of 80s babes. There’s even an appearance by Bob The Annoying Kid from HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY in the movie-within-the-movie.

As a Baby Bava fan my mileage is probably greater than yours when it comes to flicks like A BLADE IN THE DARK and 1987’s DELIRIUM (starring Serena Grandi hubba hubba). But you could definitely do worse. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor/publisher of Exploitation Retrospect and Lamberto is his favorite Bava.

A BLADE IN THE DARK is streaming on Amazon Prime and available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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