A Blade in the Dark (1983) from Tuna

A Blade in the Dark, or La casa con la scala nel buio is labeled horror, but is equally at home in the thriller genre. Directed by Lamberto Bava, son of Mario Bava, it is clear that Lamberto learned the art of extreme gore and interesting camera angles from his dad.
 He advances the art on his own, however, by adding real fright, both the startle and suspense type. In an example scene, a woman is fleeing the killer, who has already cut her. She hides behind a chain link gate, and it looks like she might be safe. Suddenly, the knife plunges through the gate, but can't reach her at first. We have the surprise of the sudden knife thrust, followed by the suspense of whether or not the killer can reach her. 


We have breast exposure by Fabiola Toledo as she changes into a swim suit.
 It was written as a four part TV mini-series, filmed on a tiny budget mostly inside a villa, and then was released as a feature film.

DVD info from Amazon.

The DVD is a decent transfer, and there is a 10 minute interview with the director.

The plot is simple. A composer is hired to score a horror film, and rents a villa for a month to work in. Women start disappearing, and there are many possible suspects.

It kept me guessing all the way to the end, not through plot trickery, but because we learn things as the hero learns them.   

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.0
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a strong C+.

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