BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964). Director: Mario Bava. [NOTE: End credit says that the English version was produced, written and directed by Lou Moss. The Italian title is Sei donne per l'assassino.]
An especially brutal murderer is slaying the beautiful models of the Christiane Fashion House in Rome. The establishment is owned by Contessa Como (Eva Bartok), a widow who is keeping company with one Max Morlan (Cameron Mitchell). Inspector Silvester (Thomas Reiner) locks up all the male suspects but the murders continue. This entertaining, well-made and suspenseful film was highly influential on the many Italian horror thrillers by Dario Argento and others that came afterward [while it itself was influenced by Hitchcock's Psycho, especially in regard to a intense focus on and depiction of murder.] There are illogical moments -- why does one frightened woman drag a corpse into her house and even leave the door wide open? -- and a disregard for forensics, but the movie works on a visceral level and is generally well-acted. Bartok and Mary Arden as model/victim Peggy come off best. Thomas Reiner is the Great Stone Face as the cop assigned to the case. Not badly dubbed [Paul Frees did some of the dubbing, apparently for more than one character.] Credit may have been given to someone else for supposedly directing this "English" version, but any way you slice it the film is pure Bava. Carlo Rustichelli's music is a plus, both the eerie music and the lazy, sensual jazz theme that opens the movie and plays on occasion throughout. Some of the atmospherically-lit sequences were considered quite sadistic in their day and still pack a punch. Bava also directed Twitch of the Death Nerve [AKA Bay of Blood].
Verdict: A creepy treat for those who love multiple murders in movies. ***.