Plot: What’s it about?
Bruno (Andrea Occhipinti) is a composer and he’s been hired to score a horror movie, so he decides to spend some time alone, in order to focus on his work. He rents a very isolated villa and plans to use his time well, as he works to finish the score, but do so in a skillful fashion, not just issue a rushed score. He soon meets two young woman, who knew the previous resident of his villa, but of course, that’s person is gone now. So Bruno tries to remain focused on his tasks at hand, but is unable to do so when strange events begin to happen. The women soon disappear and Bruno is unsure of what happened to them, but of course, they’ve been brutally murdered right inside of his own house. He decides he must solve the mysteries at hand, but with no real evidence, he is forced to used whatever means he has at hand. As he views the film he is scoring, he discovers clues to the strange events, which has Bruno in a terrible situation. Does the film hold the answers he seeks, or is some other force at work within his rented villa?
This is a tense, very effective slasher movie, but it also has some dark humor, which keeps it all in the right tone, I think. It seems like most horror fans bash director Lamberto Bava because of his father Mario’s immense success, but I think he has done some great work. I happen to hold A Blade in the Dark in very high esteem, as it is well made in all respects, from the premise to the music to the visuals to of course, the blood and gore. While we’re on the topic of blood and such, this disc includes the complete, uncut edition of the film, so all the intense violence is intact and that’s awesome news, as this flick has some terrific sequences. I wouldn’t call this a gorehound’s dream picture, but it has some well done scenes and should satisfy blood lovers, in addition to those in search of a good horror based thriller. But as is the case with most giallos, some viewers love them and others hate them, even within the rabid horror fanbase. So while I think this movie is very good, I think newcomers should rent, while fans will want to purchase, as this is a solid release.
This film was directed by Lamberto Bava, who is of course, the son of genre legend & master filmmaker Mario Bava. That means he had some big shoes to fill, but Lamberto chose a different cinematic path than his father. Yes, he still works within the horror/thriller genre, but his style shows more influence from Dario Argento, as opposed to his father’s movies. As a sort of protegee of Argento’s, Lamberto soaked up a lot of knowledge and while he never equaled his teacher, he has made some terrific movies, like A Blade in the Dark. As he has shown in his many efforts as an assistant director, Lamberto has a very in tune visual sense, which he uses in this film to great ends, to be sure. Other films directed by Bava include Demons, Body Puzzle, Demons 2, and Macabre. The cast here includes Michele Soavi (Phenomena, City of the Living Dead), Anny Papa (Ring of Darkness, Sweets from a Stranger), Fabiola Toledo (Demons, Voyage to Nowhere), and Andrea Occhipinti (The New York Ripper, Beyond the Garden).
Video: How does it look?
A Blade in the Dark is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was very impressed here, as aside from a few flaws, this is a majestic transfer and easily the finest home video treatment the movie has seen. I saw some print defects and some slight grain, but nothing serious at all, this is one well made visual effort, especially given the age and nature of the material, to be sure. The colors look good, flesh tones are natural, and contrast seems as sharp as a tack, tremendous work indeed. I think fans will be very pleased with the detail levels here, as the more accurate black levels raise detail more than a little, which allows for more to be seen in some scenes. A terrific overall treatment here, kudos to Anchor Bay on this one.
Audio: How does it sound?
Not much to discuss on the audio side, as the included mono option is good, but suffers from the usual mono limitations. I think it sounds as good as can be expected however, given the limits of mono and age of the materials. I heard no instances of hiss or distortion, while the elements seem clean, no real problems to discuss. But we never get much in terms of range and since this film would benefit from a full surround remix, I am unsure why one wasn’t created. In any event, the audio sounds as good as you can expect, with no errors in terms of mixing, just dated material and such holding it back at times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a ten minute interview session with Lamberto Bava & writer Dardano Sacchetti, as well as some talent files and the film’s theatrical trailer.