Blood and Black Lace review

New 2K restoration ensures that Mario Bava's legendary giallo is a Blu-ray to die for

A masked killer starts knocking off beautiful models at a haute couture fashion house in Mario Bava's eye-popping 1964 proto-slasher Blood and Black Lace (aka Six Women for the Murderer).

If Bava's 1963 thriller The Girl Who Knew Too Much represented the first, rather tentative, steps towards the creation of the cinematic giallo, Blood and Black Lace's depravity and clear emphasis on lurid style over narrative substance sees the filmmaker laying the groundwork that would inform the entire genre. Brutal and beautiful in equal measure, it remains a classic of the genre and one of Bava's very best.

Picture: As with all but one (Bay of Blood) of the label's previous HD Bava releases, Arrow did its own 2K restoration of Blood and Black Lace from the original camera negatives for this Blu-ray release. Supervised by James White and colour-graded with the participation of Bava expert Tim Lucas, the resulting 1.66:1 1080p encode is nothing less than spectacular. Colours are brilliantly bold and vibrant, while blacks are rock solid yet holding plenty of fine detail. Film grain is well resolved.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: The disc serves up a choice of LPCM 1.0 Italian and English soundtracks. As usual with Italian films of this vintage, all of the audio was recorded in post-production (with actors often speaking a variety of languages during filming). As such, the dialogue can appear rather loose against the picture in both tracks, but this is perfectly in keeping with the original materials. More importantly, both have been restored from the original optical sound negatives and sound immaculate.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: In addition to an in-depth commentary by Bava biographer Tim Lucas, the Blu-ray also finds space for a documentary about the film and the origins of the giallo genre; a scholarly video essay entitled Gender and Giallo by Michael Mackenzie; audio excerpts from a panel discussion with Italian filmmakers Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Steve Della Casa; two episodes of a TV series looking at the career of actor Cameron Mitchell; the alternate US opening credits (sourced from Joe Dante's private print and scanned in hi-def); the trailer; and Ryan Hayson and Jon Britt's neo-giallo short Yellow (presented in 1080p with LPCM 2.0 audio).

The Blu-ray also comes with a 40-page booklet containing essays and interviews concerning Blood and Black Lace, Bava's career and Hayson and Britt's crowd-funded giallo homage. In addition to the standard Blu-ray, a limited edition steelbook is also available from the Arrow Store website.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: A dazzling restoration of this landmark horror flick backed up by an exhaustive array of extras

Blood and Black Lace, Arrow Video, Region A/B BD & R1/2 DVD, £18/£23 Approx