Halloween Cocktail #3:
To accompany your Black Lace, this movie deserves a Black Tie Martini.
Recipe courtesy of Rachael White, writer for HomeCooking.com.
1 1/2 ounces black vodka
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Scant 1/2 ounce Créme de Cassis
1 egg white
Combine all the ingredients except black vodka in a cocktail shaker WITHOUT ice for 10 seconds until frothy.
Add a few ice cubes and shake until chilled for an additional 10 seconds.
Strain into a glass and set aside.
Rinse cocktail shaker and fill with a handful of ice. Add black vodka and shake until chilled.
Pour the vodka into a chilled martini glass, then pour the frothy egg mixture over the vodka.
Halloween Italian Horror Film Series #3:
“Blood and Black Lace” (1964) is a decadent murder mystery with a jazz laden score, an abundance of color, and a myriad of silhouettes. This movie is all about the silhouettes. This is directed by Mario Bava, Italian filmmaker who has been gifted the title of “Master of the Macabre.” His work has been said to have played a heavy influence in the work of filmmakers such as Dario Argento (mentioned in the first two films of this series), as well as Lucio Fulci, Federico Fellini, John Carpenter, Nicolas Winding Refn, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Joe Dante, John Landis, Francis Ford Coppola, Roger Corman, Edgar Wright, Jennifer Kent and Quentin Tarantino.
The film begins with a moody intro featuring portraiture looks from each of the main cast members, most of whom are fashion models, donned in 1960’s glamour. Surrounded by mannequins and floral arrangements in deep emerald and purple hues, the first few moments of “Blood and Black Lace” sets the dramatic, but fun tone that is carried through the rest of the piece. It is considered a “giallo” – which as previously discussed (see: Phenomena (1985)) is the Italian term for classic murder mystery or horror tales, and right away the audience is witnessing a startling murder of a young woman on the brink of her fashion career. As her peers and employers wrestle with the terrifying loss, her masked killer lurks on the scene in an attempt to obtain her diary, which is sure to have left behind secrets that might reveal his (or her) identity.
Cameron Mitchell stars as Massimo Morlacchi, a suspicious manager who co-manages the salon with his lover, the recently widowed Countess Cristiana Cuomo (Eva Bartok). Ariana Gorini as Nicole, Mary Arden as Peggy, Lea Krugher as Greta, and more members of the company, continue to steal the diary in attempt to hide their own scandals, without knowing that the diary places them directly on the killers hit list. In other words, when it is in their hands, they’re next.
This allows for some light commentary on how the self-interest of each party leads to their demise, but it is still a traditional horror film and the brutality and gore supersedes the plot. The gruesome violence is depicted artfully and memorably. In the late 1950’s in West Germany, there was a film genre called “krimis” which often included a “mysterious villain with sadistic tendencies.” It has been said that this film, along with much of Italian horror, was influenced by this genre, especially “Blood and Black Lace” which embraces violence with elaborate flare and eroticism. The performances and script at times feel stale or contrived, but the theatrical direction and visual inventiveness makes the piece mesmerizing to watch throughout its running time. In fact, the stunning production design and costuming makes it a visual feast that stands out a bit amongst the other pictures in this category.
“If it hadn’t been for that damn diary!”