A Blade in the Dark (La Casa con la scala nel buio, 1983)

Spanish Blu-ray edition


Text below written 2020-08-11


Lamberto Bava, the son of legendary Master of Horror Mario Bava, had worked as his father's directorial assistant all way back since Mario's 1965
Terrore nello Spazio and 1966 Operazione Paura, and in 1977 he co-directed Shock with his father, the last film Mario Bava directed.
Lamberto also assisted other genre directors as Dario Argento and Ruggero Deodato.
With Macabro in 1980 Lamberto Bava debuted as a director on his own and with La Casa con la Scala nel Buio in 1983 he confirmed that he was a
pretty impressive director all on his own. In this the latter one he also shows his influence from Dario Argento's directorial style, and naturally also
from his father, not a surprise as Dario in his turn was influenced by the directorial style of Mario Bava.

The old US Anchor Bay DVD double edition

I watched these 2 Lamberto Bava films (on the above US DVD) for the first time in 2003 and now it was time for a re-watching and a possible
re-evaluation of them. 2003, aah yes, at that time you were pretty spoiled with the early DVD releases of Classic Gialli, the best of Argento, the
best of Lenzi, Fulci, Lado, Martino and of Mario Bava etc. and these mostly then from the Gialli golden era of the 1960's -1970's.
But if i remember correctly i did like these 2 Lamberto Bava films also back then.

And these two films were the best films Lamberto ever directed on his own, and that is my opinion as i know some prefer his horrors Demons
and Demons 2. I've watched 3 more gialli directed by Lamberto, 1986 Morirai a mezzanotte, 1987 Le foto di Gioia and 1992 Body Puzzle and they
are all entertaining but strictly B grade genre offerings (read about them on my Giallo pages). In the 1980's the genre was on it's way out.

A Blade in the Dark:

In the intro always creepy blonde kid Giovanna "House by the Cemetary" Frezza can be seen, in something that turns out to be a scene from a
horror movie directed by Sandra (Annie Papa). But our giallo protagonist is Bruno (Andre Occhipinti) a composer, and he's hired by Sandra to
make the soundtrack to her movie. She has rented an empty villa for him to feel alone and scared in, to get in the proper mood for creating a
fine horrorfilm soundtrack that emanates anxiety and terror. And, he's not alone as a stalker with a knife is moving around the premises.
Also, a woman turns up, Katia (Valeria Cavalli) just to suddenly disappear and on his tape recorder he can hear faint whispers.

WTF is going on? His girlfriend Julia (Lara Naszinsky) arrives to join him and another girl show up, Angela (Fabiola Toledo) just to disappear
like the other. Red herrings are thrown around and could a knife wielding killer be on the loose, yes it sure could.
Bruno won't call the police in true gialli manner and starts sleuthing himself. If therehas been murders, where are the bodies, and who's Linda?

Julia and Sandra can be seen on this poster

Michele Soavi was the assistant director of the film and can also be seen as Tony, the real estate guy.
I liked this giallo a lot, a violent and suspenseful thriller even though the identity of the murderer came as no surprise. A Blade in the Dark was
stylishly shot by GianLorenzo Battaglia with a lot of Argentoesque touches, OK, B-Argento but still very good and always entertaining. The
subjective camera of the killer's eyes and the sweeping through corridors.

Lamberto never bore us. Some of his films may be less inspired than this one, but he's never boring.
The Fabiola Toledo underwater swimming scene looked very slick and all the women looked luscious, photographed looking their best.
Guido and Maurizio De Angelis made the soundtrack.
The Spanish Blu-ray presents the film in anamorphic widescreen with an english audio , no extras, region ALL

The old US DVD were in anamorphic widescreen 1.77:1 with mono english audio, interview with Lamberto Bava, trailer and bio