A Blade in the Dark (1983)

Known in Italy as La Casa con la Scala nel Buio (The House with the Dark Staircase), Lamberto Bava’s A Blade in the Dark was originally intended to be a four-part TV mini-series, with each segment ending with a murder. However, it was too gory for regular audiences, so it was released as a film. It was written by the husband and wife team of Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti, whose script was often at odds with what Bava wanted to put in his film.

Bruno (Andrea Occhipinti, The New York Ripper) is a composer hired to create the soundtrack for a horror movie. He’s been having trouble concentrating on the job, so he rents a house to sequester himself. He meets two women who used to know his rented villa’s former tenant, but when they disappear, he’s forced to watch the movie he’s scoring closer, as there’s a clue to the razor-wielding killer’s identity hidden within.

Bava worked as Dario Argento’s assistant for the movie Tenebre two years before this movie was made, so that has a big influence on this work. This is a movie unafraid to wallow in gore, feeling closer to the American slasher than the giallo. Then again, Lamberto was an assistant on the movie that predates the slasher, his father’s A Bay of Blood.

For the killer, he had difficulty finding someone who could convincingly appear to be a man and a woman. He turned to his assistant, Michele Soavi, who went on to direct plenty of great horror on his own.

For those that care about these matters like me — Giovanni Frezza, forever Bob from The House by the Cemetery — shows up in the movie within a movie that Bruno is writing the music to. He’s taunted by voices that chant “You are a female! You are a female!”

Also, in the true spirit of giallo and what the word means, every victim — and then the killer him or herself — is called out by the color yellow.

You can watch this movie on Amazon Prime.

3 thoughts on “A Blade in the Dark (1983)”

  1. […] The best part of this collection are the trailers, which include The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Blood and Black Lace, Libido, The Embalmer, The Murder Clinic, Deadly Sweet, Death Laid an Egg, Naked You Die, The Sweet Body of Deborah, A Black Veil for Lisa, Deadly Inheritance, Paranoia, Perversion Story, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Five Dolls for an August Moon, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Death Occurred Last Night, The Weekend Murders, The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Cat O’ Nine Tails, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Cold Eyes of Fear, The Designated Victim, In the Eye of the Hurricane, Slaughter Hotel, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, The Fifth Cord, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire, The Black Belly of the Tarantula, The Bloodstained Butterfly, Short Night of Glass Dolls, Death Walks on High Heels, The Devil with Seven Faces, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, The Dead Are Alive, My Dear Killer, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, All the Colors of the Dark, What Have You Done to Solange?, Amuck!, Who Saw Her Die?, The French Sex Murders, The Case of the Bloody Iris, The Crimes of the Black Cat, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, Knife of Ice, Don’t Torture a Duckling, Tropic of Cancer, The Killer is on the Phone, A White Dress for Mariale, Torso, Death Carries a Cane, Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye, Spasmo, The Killer Reserved Nine Seats, The Girl in Room 2A, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, Puzzle, Death Will Have Your Eyes, The Killer Must Kill Again, Autopsy, Eyeball, Deep Red, Strip Nude for Your Killer, The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance, Strange Shadows in an Empty Room, The House of the Laughing Windows, Nine Guests for a Crime, Watch Me When I Kill, The Psychic, The Pyjama Girl Case, Hotel Fear, Enigma Rosso, The Sister of Ursula, The Bloodstained Shadow, Killer Nun, Giallo in Venice, The New York Ripper, Tenebre and A Blade in the Dark. […]


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