Horror Movie A Day: THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW (1978)
Why, you whore! I can find better than you on any street corner!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.]
Okay, so this one was a dud. But you can’t fault me for thinking a ‘70s giallo with the awesome title THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW, a creepy as shit DVD cover and some awesome original posters might have something worthwhile about it.
The setting (Venice) and gratuitious (and lovely) nudity from Stefania Casini are the only things worthwhile about this flick, Antonio Bido’s attempt at creating an Argento giallo about an Italian town plagued with a series of murders. This below lobby card shows ten times more atmosphere than anything in the movie:
Lino Capolicchio plays Stefano, a young professor coming back to the Islands off of Venice, his home, to visit his brother Paolo (Craig Hill). Paolo’s a priest and quickly fills his little brother in on the nefarious people within the town.
We have a suspected kid-toucher, a piano teacher who may or may not be touching kids, but is certainly gay. I guess they think being gay is synonomous with kid-raper. There’s also an Athiest doctor, an abortion-performing mid-wife who has a crazy son she hides somewhere in town so he’s not taken away from her and then there’s a medium who constantly gathers them all together for séances.
Sounds like this movie should rule, doesn’t it? Italian horror, hairy-arm-pitted naked hot Italian girls, a crazy cast of characters… Well, take that movie that’s playing in your head right now and hold on to it. I guarantee you it’s better than this one.
I give the filmmakers a little credit for trying, but they commit the cardinal sin of horror and exploitation. They made a boring, boring, boring movie.
I couldn’t find anything to latch on to as a viewer. The characters are mediocre at best and the big mystery of the movie isn’t interesting. Somehow these new murders are connected to a strangling that happened in the past (which opens the movie… a bizarre slow-motion strangling of a girl who looks like she’s trying to keep a straight face and not look at the camera), but if you think you have the who of the whodunit figured out just by reading this review you’re not wrong.
Bido does his best to try to throw you off of the scent, but his best isn’t good enough. The red herrings he throws at you are too obvious to be the real twist to the movie and then he delivers us an ending that is incredibly over-complicated, but somehow still predictable.
The dubbing on this film doesn’t help it, but on Italian exploitation and horror films I find the dubbing the easiest thing to overlook. Especially on horror. Look at Lucio Fulci’s movies… the dubbing is hardly ever great, but goddamn does he give you visuals to focus on instead… gut-barfing, nipple-slicing, sharks fighting zombies… Fulci knows how to do it.
Now, I will say there are two good scares in the movie. Both are jump scares, one a fake-out and another not-so-much. The fake-out is great because it could have been in a spoof movie. The beautiful Stefania Casini is walking the deserted alleys, sure she’s being followed. The tension mounts and mounts and mounts until she turns a corner and runs smack dab into a man holding an accordion. The accordion lets out a sudden and high pitched series of notes, like you’d expect to be on the soundtrack of the film.
The second is an attack scene that is just well time, a hand coming out from behind the curtain of a confession booth.
But yeah… the filmmakers had the right idea with this one, but didn’t have the talent to pull it off. If you’re not going to bring a quality mystery, you gotta at least bring the fun, guys.
Final Thoughts: Definitely not a blind buy quality, but if you happen to find it at a friend’s house or have a big hole in your Netflix queue then maybe it’s worth giving a view just for the Casini love scene and one or two decent kills. This is one I wish I could have watched on fast-forward. After watching through the whole nearly 2 hours (that felt like 3) of the film I realized I could have watched it that way and have still known what was going on.
Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October:
Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here!
Now’s the the time to pull the next HMAD!
Next up is:
See you folks tomorrow for that one!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
October 19th: The Thing From Another World
October 20th: The Fall of the House of Usher
October 21st: Audrey Rose
October 22nd: Who Slew Auntie Roo?
October 23rd: Wait Until Dark
October 24th: Dead & Buried
October 25th: A Bucket of Blood
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 27, 2008, 5:14 a.m. CST
What you described does sound good in my head, Quint. Well, I'll trust you. Still waiting for you to pick MOTHER OF TEARS. Man what a stinker.
Oct. 27, 2008, 5:22 a.m. CST
Minor classic. Clayton Rohner is one of the most underrated actors of the 80's.
Oct. 27, 2008, 7:47 a.m. CST
But for whatever reason I never got around to it. Curious to see the review.
Oct. 27, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST
or didn't you say you were going to start giving us mini blurbs about your favorite flicks at the end of the column?
Oct. 27, 2008, 10:40 a.m. CST
I remember renting the VHS when I was in high school. I remember that I watched it. I remember thinking it wasn't nearly as cool or good as I was hoping it would be. Beyond that, I don't remember anything about it - the plot, the actors, the director, nada. I guess it didn't make much of an impression on me.
Oct. 27, 2008, 2:33 p.m. CST
I truly don't get your "taste" in horror films. This is quite a little gem. One of the better Giallos I've seen. Can someone else do this list next year? Ya know someone who actually likes horror films?
Oct. 27, 2008, 4:07 p.m. CST
What can I say? I didn't like the movie. It felt like an almost... it almost was great, but when you get that close and don't make it... that's almost worse than being really crappy.<BR><BR>And I find it funny you don't think I like horror movies because I didn't like this obscure, dated and unsuccessfully executed giallo. I'm glad you do like the flick, but just because I didn't doesn't mean I don't love horror. I think it should be pretty clear by now how much I adore the genre. I've written extensively about this month and horror was my gateway into my love of film. In fact, I've been faulted before for having spent too much time on genre and not enough on other film, which is why you see an odd spattering of horror that I haven't seen and yet you see so many classic "you haven't seen that?!?" in musicals, dramas and some comedies. Trust me, I do love horror, I just didn't love this movie.
Oct. 27, 2008, 4:53 p.m. CST
by The Amazing G
I had given up hope you'd hit that!
Oct. 27, 2008, 5:01 p.m. CST
It's not just the Giallo, all of your horror reviews this month have seemed off, but I guess it's just me....
Oct. 27, 2008, 8:27 p.m. CST
Hey Quint! I hope you either do the horror theme again next year to hit the movies you don't get to this go-round... or at least sprinkle in the ones you don't hit during the upcoming year along with the other titles/genres. Also, knowing there's not a huge amount of Christmas films out there compared to horror, maybe do a Christmas theme on the 12 days leading up to it... or a week's worth of Christmas (or other holiday) films leading up to that holiday. But, whatever... it's all good. I really look forward to your reaction to THE BODY SNATCHER, SQUIRM, and THE SENTINEL. Thanks
Oct. 27, 2008, 8:28 p.m. CST
... if it weren't for the lead actress, who is TERRIBLE in it. There are really cool moments throughout the flick, but she seriously ruins some scenes with her flat, uninteresting performance... You've been warned.
Oct. 28, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST
by frank cotton
is as much a noir film as horror. it is a personal favorite, one of those pleasant surprises, like BLOOD SALVAGE - something i didn't expect much from. i think the lead actress in I, MADMAN is the chick who got lobotomized in LAWNMOWER MAN
Nov. 8, 2008, 7:55 p.m. CST
I don't even remember seeing this review until now. <p> I guess I should pay more attention.
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