La casa con la scala nel buio
House of the Dark Stairway
I first encountered Lamberto Bava’s second feature film A Blade in the Dark about a decade ago. My memories of this viewing experience were unanimously positive, so I felt a certain amount of upbeat optimism as I slotted the Blue Underground DVD into my player and screened it for the second time in preparation for this month long giallo season. To say I wasn’t expecting such a bad film might be the understatement of the year. A Blade in the Dark is living proof that returning to films every few years is a vital part of film scholarship. This is Lamberto Bava’s gushing and masturbatory tribute to the giallo productions of Dario Argento. You can almost see Bava kneeling at the altar of Argento and genuflecting before his messiah. Or perhaps better still flagellating his flabby form too appease his filmmaking master. The starkly lit visual presentation (even night time scenes are bright) is a complete lift from the previous years Tenebre, a film upon which Bava also worked. The protagonist who is stalked by an unseen assailant as the bodies stack up is clearly a nod to Marcus Daly from Deep Red (1975). The only difference is that one composes avant-garde jazz music (and represents high culture) and the other is employed to compose a score for a horror film (and represents low culture). Although both musicians approach the art from different perspectives and both characters are weedy A Blade in the Dark’s Bruno (Andrea Occhipinti) is so lifeless, lame, and pathetic one prays for his extermination. If you want to see the difference between father and son watch this film. Mario Bava was a brilliant visual stylist who was heavily imitated by others, Lamberto is devoid of ideas and imitates others.
"Filmmaker" Lamberto Bava aka Dario Argento's bitch
The stunning Lara Lamberti who plays troubled stage actress Julia
© Shaun Anderson 2011