61 Days of Halloween- Introduction and A Blade in the Dark

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

A Blade in the Dark

A Blade in the Dark is a film by Lamberto Bava (Demons, son of Mario Bava) which fits in perfectly in the Giallo tradition of filmmaking. You have all the necessary components: an unknown killer, a series of unexplained deaths, a theme song anchoring the film and a twist as to who is the culprit. What is most clever is that Bava here makes his protagonist a musician working on a film score so the repetition of the theme is naturalistic most of the time and can’t get annoying.

You may notice a slight similarity to Four Flies on Grey Velvet but there is a decided difference here. In this film you also have a film-within-a-film which doesn’t take up a lot of screen time but plays a significant role. You see one of the pivotal scenes full-frame before the credits roll and only later realize it’s a film-within-a-film. This little vignette also features Giovanni Frezza who was the poster child of the genre in the 1980s appearing in the works of Fulci and the elder Bava as well.

Giovanni Frezza in A Blade in the Dark (Blue Underground)

The twist in this film is one you think you see coming but you truly don’t. The film does a great job of dividing your suspicions in this whodunit and thus misdirecting you completely. While there is one scene in particular, the first kill, that stands out as being awkwardly staged the rest of it is handled masterfully. There are some tooth-clenching sequences and great gore work.