Blade in the Dark (1983) Review

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A BLADE IN THE DARK

**** Out of 5

Release Date- May 11th, 1983 (Italy)

Running Time- 108-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Elisa Briganti & Dardano Sacchetti

Director- Lamberto Bava

Starring- Andrea Occhipinti, Anny Papa, Fabiola Toledo, Michele Soavi, Valeria Cavalli, Stanko Molnar, Lara Naszinsky

Despite having a pretty successful career it’s not easy being Lamberto Bava seeing as his father is the legendary Mario Bava one of the most influential filmmakers to come out of Italy. Despite his success, Lamberto will always compared to his father and for me Lamberto Bava has always been hit or miss and A Blade in the Dark in my opinion is not only his best film, but also one of the very best Giallos of the 80s; A Blade in the Dark is one of those movies that there is this potential for greatness and while it doesn’t fully reach that level, but again for me it’s one of the best Giallos of the 80s.

The screenplay was written by Elisa Briganti & Dardano Sacchetti and both writers should be fairly well-known to fans of Italian horror with Sacchetti being one of the more prolific writers in Italian horror in the 80s. Of all their scripts I think this might just be one of their best and the only script in my opinion they did a better job with was Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. While at times some of the dialogue can be a little silly it’s a well written mystery that is quite interesting and while it may not break any new ground in the Giallo is works well with some fairly interesting characters and an interesting twist at the end.

Director Lamberto Bava takes a few cues from his father and Dario Argento and delivers a mostly solid movie with some solid suspense and some good tension and handles the mystery aspect very well. The pacing is a bit sluggish in some areas, while I can’t say I was ever really bored the pacing can be quite slow at times. Some scenes did drag in spots and had the editing been a little tighter the pacing would have been a lot better. But there is a good sense of dread through the movie and the kill scenes are well-done with the 2nd murder being quite brutal.

A Blade in the Dark doesn’t feature a lot of death scenes as more is put on the mystery and I really liked the fact the movie focuses more on suspense rather than death scenes and while the 2nd death scene is rather brutal the gore level isn’t as high as one would expect for an Itlain horror film from the 80s. A lot of Giallos in the 80s were quite graphic and that was done probably to keep up with the American slasher films, but I really liked how the movie again doesn’t just focus on gore and Bava really does an excellent job with the death scenes.

Overall A Blade in the Dark is one of the better Giallos of the 80s and the movie features some strong writing and directing and really the only flaw is some scenes do slightly drag and at 109-minutes the movie might have been better off losing a few minutes, but despite that A Blade in the Dark is my favorite Lamberto Bava movies and again one of the better Giallos of the 80s.

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10 Responses to “Blade in the Dark (1983) Review”

  1. Hentai Man Says:

    Holy hell is that Bob from House by the cemetery? I hope he doesn’t have the same dubbed voice.

  2. Hentai Man Says:

    Haha. I like your reviews man. I am a sucker for Italian schlock myself and remember the fond memories.

    • Thanks. Those kind of films are quite fun. I saw another film with little Bob. Warriors of the Wasteland, which also goes under the title of the New Bararians. He’s was badly dubbed there as well.

      Have you see Lamberto Bava’s Demons? He appears at the end. Don’t remember his dub though.

      • Hentai Man Says:

        I have seen Demons and even it’s sequel. But I didn’t remember Bob. Maybe because I saw House by the cemetery after Demons and so I was introduced to Badly dubbed Bob then. But he is credited on Imdb as Kirk. Don’t know who that was in the movie.

        Might have to check it again. I do remember the badass pimp from that one.

      • Remember when the two main characters escape from the theater? They end up on a jeep? That’s where Bob appears. He’s also 5-years older than he was in Cemetery.

  3. Hentai Man Says:

    Lol must take a look again. Bob despite looking like a stupider version of Macaulay Culkin as a kid grew up to be a decent-looking guy.

    Demons was a really fun movie. Lamberto despite his father’s gigantic shadow, did make a couple of good movies.

    • I like both Bava’s but can’t confess to being a huge fan of either. Of the two I prefer Mario (shocker isn’t it?). I’m more into Argento, Fulci and early to mid 70s Sergio Martino. I do like a number of Mario B films as for Lamberto mostly this very film and Demons

      • Hentai Man Says:

        Yep. Argento IMO is the greatest Italian horror film maker. Suspiria, Inferno, Deep Red, Opera, Phenomena, Tenebre. I even liked his Trauma very much.

        I found Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy a touch boring. Though City was a good film with a stupid ending. Beyond had a great setup and gore but was dull. House was also pretty dull despite a great villain. Zombie was a great film and New York Ripper was a touch nasty but watchable.

        I have only seen Martino’s Torso which was decent. I also liked Massimo Dallamano’s What Have you Done to Solange which was a really good giallo with surprisingly very little violence.

      • Sorry for the delayed response. As for Martino you should check out his early 70s work such as Case of the Scorpion’s Tail and the Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (also goes under the title of Blade of the Ripper). I haven’t seen them in several years and been meaning to revisit, but based off memory I thought both were good.

        As for Fulci I like his films for the most part. Gates of Hell is fun as was the Beyond thought slightly overrated. Cemetery is a whacky film that makes zero,sense. It’s this build up to some big revelation that never does come about.

        Have you seen Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling? My favorite Fulci film by far and my fave Giallo, I have a review for,it posted. Non-spoiler. I highly recommend it.

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