“The diary, the diary… If it hadn’t been for that damned diary!”
The owner (Eva Bartok) and manager (Cameron Mitchell) of a haute couture fashion salon attempt to figure out the identity of a masked killer brutally murdering their models.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cameron Mitchell Films
- Horror Films
- Mario Bava Films
- Murder Mystery
- Serial Killer
After his breakthrough success with Black Sunday (1960), Mario Bava went on to become a cult favorite of the thriller-horror giallo genre — with this film generally considered the first to feature many of its distinctive elements (shocking horror, a shadowy killer, and grisly deaths). The problem with this and other giallo films — and so many, many horror films to come — is that it viscerally glorifies the murder of sexualized, beautiful women. If one can move past that, there’s certainly much to appreciate here in terms of Bava’s cinematography and overall cinematic style — this is aesthetic eye candy from start to finish. DVD Savant — a huge Bava fan — argues:
“Bava’s powerful images are never simply decorative, never just pretty pictures or art direction… Although there’s a lot to be said for understatement, Bava overturns that applecart by veering in the opposite direction — cruelty and sadism are the commodities on display… The sensually charged images encourage us to anticipate the next gruesome killing, briefly converting us all into sex killers.”
So — consider yourself forewarned. For a quick video overview of giallo films and how this title fits into its history, click here.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Vibrant cinematography and imagery
- Carlo Rustichelli’s score
Yes, once, for its visuals and historical relevance as an influential giallo flick. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.