The Christian Haute Couture is a famous fashion house in Rome. After the death of her husband the house is run by Contessa Cristiana Cuomo (Eva Bartok) and Massimo Morlacchi (Cameron Mitchell). On the eve of their fashion show one of the models, Isabella (Francesca Ungaro), is murdered. Police inspector Ispettore Silvestri (Thomas Reiner) investigates the murder.
Silvestri questions everyone at the studio including Isabella’s roommates Peggy Peyton (Mary Arden) and Tao-Li (Claude Dante) who are also models. Silvestri learns from one of the dress designers, Cesare Lazzarini (Luciano Pigozzi) that Isabella’s last boyfriend was Franco Scalo (Dante DiPaolo), a squirrely cocaine addict and the owner of an antiques store. Franco is now seeing Nicole (Arianna Gorini), who supplies him with cocaine. A man trying to enter the crime scene is stopped by the police. He identifies himself as Marchese Riccardo Morelli (Franco Ressel). He is engaged to Greta (Lea Lander), another one of the models.
During the fashion show Nicole finds Isabella’s diary. She puts it in her purse intending on giving to the police the next day. During the show Peggy steals the diary. Nicole slips out to see Franco. When she gets to the antique store she is murdered by a man wearing a trench coat, fedora and mask. The killer looks for the diary in Nicole’s purse but it isn’t there.
Back at home Peggy finds something in the diary that she doesn’t want anyone to know about. She burns it in the fireplace. Marco (Massimo Righi), one of the other workers at the fashion house, shows up at Peggy’s house hoping to get lucky. When the police call asking to come over and talk to her she shoos Marco out. Expecting the police she opens the door to find the killer standing there. She is attacked. She confesses that she burned the diary. The killer knocks her out and takes her away before Silvestri gets there. Peggy regains consciousness and finds herself tied to a chair. She is tortured. She maintains she burned the diary. When Peggy manages to tear the mask off the killer she recognizes who it is and is murdered.
Unaware that there is a diary, Silvestri believes he is looking for a sex maniac and hauls all five men associated with the fashion house down to the police station. He questions Massimo, Cesare, Franco, Marco and Morelli. Believing one of them is the killer Silvestri arrests them all and tosses them in jail. But when the killings continue Silvestri is forced to release all his suspects and start all over again.
“Blood and Black Lace” AKA “6 donne per l'assassino” or “6 Women for the Murderer” was released in 1964 and was directed by Mario Bava. It is an Italian, French and West German co-production horror film and one of the first giallo films.
As with 99.9 percent of Mario Bava’s films, this too was a great ride. It is quick moving and compelling. The murders are many and varied. Even the title is cool. The diary that precipitates the additional murders ends up being a MacGuffin as the murders get out of hand. There’s a fair amount of blood and gruesomeness to keep anyone entertained. Add in a couple twists and turns and you have a sophisticated slasher film that’s fascinating from beginning to end.
A lot of the male characters were dubbed by Paul Frees for the American release of this film. He did the dubbing for Cameron Mitchell as well.