Eurotika Season 1, Episode 3: Blood and Black Lace: A Short History of the Italian Horror Film (1999)

4.0 out of 5

From a series of documentaries from Britain's Channel 4 that covered, amongst others, the work of Jean Rollin and Jess Franco in Blood and Black Lace the films of Renato Polselli and Mario Bava are explored superficially, Erika Blanc discusses green make-up and the Devil's Nightmare while the excitable geeky talking head of Kim Newman mentions something about Bava's love of fog, colourful or otherwise, and Luigi Cozzi tells us of his love of rubber monsters and so on. Nude For Satan is shown as the viewer is treated to the story of the modern Italian horror filone from it's birth in the 1960s.

Al Festa, he of the soundtrack of Born to Fight and the director of Fatal Frames, describes the violence of giallo as pure art and surely few could disagree while Beyond Terror author and ex member of Coil Stephen Thrower explains to the uninitiated just what all this giallo is about for those who do not get what it is Festa thinks is art.

A voice over from Penelope McGhie talks about the influences of yellow crime novels and a clip from Torso and Deodato's Vortice Mortale is shown as part of a quick black gloved montage. The raw exploitation of the early eighties is covered and factual errors are made when it is claimed that Lucio Fulci began directing in the 1960s.

While the unfortunately short running time results in little depth of examination of the whole Italian horror phenomena, with it's silent age genesis and video age decline overlooked completely, this documentary nevertheless not only provides a delightful introduction to the neophyte but will, like the rediscovery of long forgotten love letters, provide a perfect reminder to the more jaded and long in the tooth collector of why it was all worth it. Recommended.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics