The Bloodstained Shadow

  • 1978
  • Movie
  • R
  • Thriller

A twisty Italian thriller in which a series of murders in a small town are linked to a bloody local secret. In a pre-credits prologue, a schoolgirl is murdered in a field, in the shadow of a distinctive castle. Cut to several years later, as young college professor Stefano (Lino Caoplicchio) meets painter Sandra (Stefania Casini) on a train and discovers...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A twisty Italian thriller in which a series of murders in a small town are linked to a bloody local secret. In a pre-credits prologue, a schoolgirl is murdered in a field, in the shadow of a distinctive castle. Cut to several years later, as young college professor Stefano (Lino Caoplicchio) meets painter Sandra (Stefania Casini) on a train and discovers that they're both headed for the same destination, a small island near Venice. Stefano is going to spend some time with his brother, Father Paolo (Craig Hill), while Sandra is taking a brief vacation from caring for her ailing mother. Shortly after Stefano's arrival, Paolo is awakened during a storm by the sounds of a scuffle. He sees a woman being strangled in the square outside his church and summons Stefano and the church caretaker; curiously, neither is in his room. When they go to investigate, there's no body and, convinced that Father Paolo was dreaming, they all return to bed. But the next day the body of a local medium, who may also have been a blackmailer, is found strangled, and Father Paolo begins receiving threatening notes warning him to be quiet about what he saw. Soon the medium's unsavory clients begin to turn up dead; they include a doctor with a gambling problem, who may also have killed his wife; a wealthy child molester who uses his aristocratic family's wealth and reputation to protect himself from prosecution; and a local midwife/abortionist reputed to be hiding a retarded adult son. Stefano, who's prone to spells that seem rooted in a repressed childhood memory and may be taking a break from his work because he's had a nervous breakdown, begins dating Sandra. While visiting to her mother's home in Venice notices a painting that depicts a girl in a field with a castle in the background. But before Stefano can figure out why the image seems oddly familiar, Sandra's mother is murdered and the painting stolen. Can Stefano solve the riddle of the painting in time to prevent further bloodshed? The second film by director Antonio Bido (following 1977's nasty WATCH ME WHEN I KILL), this derivative thriller using a setting strongly reminiscent of Pupi Avati's THE HOUSE WITH WINDOWS THAT LAUGH (1976) and lifts a key plot device from Dario Argento's DEEP RED (1976); the score by Stelvio Cipriani is also strongly reminiscent of Goblin's scores for Argento. But Bido makes good use of these borrowed elements and, overall, crafted a better than average giallo, handsomely photographed and smartly paced.

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  • Released: 1978
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A twisty Italian thriller in which a series of murders in a small town are linked to a bloody local secret. In a pre-credits prologue, a schoolgirl is murdered in a field, in the shadow of a distinctive castle. Cut to several years later, as young college… (more)

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