42nd Street Cinema

The Bloodstained Shadow (1978)

Antonio Bido's The Bloodstained Shadow (a.k.a. Solamente Nero).
Like most giallo's this starts with a murder of a young woman shot in awe-inspiring slow motion. Having never seen a film start in slow motion I immediately thought there was something wrong with my DVD's frame-rate. Soon realising I was being treated to a slow motion strangulation of a woman. Splendid.
The plot revolves around a young college professor named Stefano D'Archangelo (played by Lino Capolicchio from House With Laughing Windows) who returns home to visit his Catholic priest brother Don Paolo (played by Craig Hill). During his stay prominent members of the community begin to be stalked and slaughtered by an unknown killer.
Don begins to receive death threats from the killer as he is the witness to a murder of another young girl. These threats that he receives are tormenting riddles that truly play on his mind. The killer sticks to gialli norm of the black gloves, black cape and hood.

For a giallo flick there's a few scares and the pacing is a little sluggish. To counter that is the thick atmosphere, pumping through a similar vein as Anthropophagus (1980). Though the deaths are far from extravagant they offer a certain realism that isn't very prevalent in other genre films. One thing that did make me laugh somewhat is whenever there is an attack sequence, the piece of soundtrack that's played sounds exactly the same. I was impressed with was a 'boat chase' sequence, that rivals something from a James Bond flick, it isn't long until someone is mashed under it. The filming locations for The Bloodstained Shadow are in Venice, making a nice change from the usual locale's of Rome.

The acting is generally quite good, but the dubbing is really where the film fails, that and the rather abrupt ending. Soundtrack in this film is great and features a prominent bass guitar, with an accompanying organ. Nothing better than a bit of late 70s prog-rock.
This is an above average giallo from a director I personally have never heard of. I would fully recommend this to anyone who enjoys their gialli.

DVD: Anchor Bay 'The Giallo Collection'
Running Time: 109 mins
Extras: Solamente Bido - All new 13 minute interview with Director Antonio Bido, Theatrical Trailer and Antonio Bido Filmography.


Nigel M said...

I have a copy of this but havent watched it yet, so i think i will give this one a look tomorrow- i am having a sunday morning giallothon- was watching eyeball earlier and started to get tired.
so sunday:
bloodstained shadow

and um....

wanna suggest another one?

James Gracey said...

Cool review James. Nigel - how about checking out Short Night of Glass Dolls? I watched it last night - bloody good film. You just can't beat a Sunday morning giallothon!

Nigel M said...

okay deal- thats the list for this weekend then- eyeball,glass dolls,this one (bloodstained shadow) and if i get time the killer must kill again- so despite being 1215 i ll have another hour in bed then i ll get onto those films.

James said...

I was actually going to recommend Short Night of Glass Dolls too! it's almost a perfect companion to bill this with.

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