There’s no denying that working in isolation is ideal for staying focused, especially when composing a score for a horror movie is the task at hand. One wrong note, and you could end up with a discordant melody that doesn’t quite fit the bill. Wouldn’t that be unfortunate? Well, the good news is that Bruno is a diligent composer, so you can rest assured that he’s cut out for the job. The bad news is that there’s a killer on the prowl—a killer whose penchant for bloodshed and brutality is encapsulated by the gloomy backdrop. With this in mind, A Blade in the Dark not only lives up to its title, but the concealment of the killer’s identity adds to its allure.
There is an emphasis on the fear of the dark. It’s a common fear and one that is amplified by the idea of a film within a film, thus strengthening the relationship between the opening scene and the corresponding reel. This is of note, given Sandra’s efforts to capture the fear of the dark. It is a focal point for her, so it has a mystique to it. It has an enticing quality about it that couldn’t be more striking. Accordingly, the possibility that Sandra’s preoccupation motivates the killer to lash out is strong, as is the possibility that the killer is influenced by a moment in Sandra’s film in which a boy is deemed a girl for hesitating to retrieve a tennis ball that the bullies toss into a basement. It makes for an effective opening, and one that is befitting of the killer’s penchant for feminine clothing.
I don’t know if I’ve seen a giallo that features a box cutter as a murder weapon. It’s definitely unusual. It stands out due to it being an everyday object that is used in a way that is expressive of the killer’s callousness and bloodlust. Talk about a deadly combination!
Looking back at A Blade in the Dark, I can’t help but think of it as sleazy but slightly odd, what with the spider scene. I don’t know what to make of it, but if you have a thing for women getting freaked out by creepy crawlies, I’m not gonna judge you. If anything, I’ll recommend giving the film a whirl because it’s pretty good overall. Is it likely to change your opinion of gialli if they aren’t your cup of tea? No, but the mystery is engaging enough, plus it’s topped off nicely by skillful camerawork and an atmospheric score. I can’t complain about those, though if I did, I would surely find myself garroted with a film reel.