The Bloodstained Shadow – Italy, 1978 – reviews

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Solamente nero – released internationally as The Bloodstained Shadow, Bloodstained Shadow and Watch Me When I Kill – is a 1978 Italian giallo horror thriller film directed by Antonio Bido from a screenplay co-written with Domenico malan and Marisa Andalo’. The P.A.C. production stars  starring Lino Capolicchio, Stefania Casini, Craig Hill, Massimo Serato and Juliette Mayniel.

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When a young college professor (Lino Capolicchio of The House With the Laughing Windows) returns home to visit his Catholic priest brother (Craig Hill of Dracula vs. Frankenstein), prominent members of the community begin to be stalked and slaughtered by an unknown killer.

Can the brothers uncover the identity of this deranged fiend, even while they are being tortured by their own nightmares of an unspeakable childhood trauma?

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The Bloodstained Shadow has a satisfyingly labyrinthine plot, plenty of shock cuts and some well-orchestrated murder scenes (especially the demise of the medium during a thunderstorm). Antonio Bido ( who also made The Cat’s Victims the year before) again takes his cue directly from Dario Argento’s oeuvre but makes excellent use of the winding passages and narrow waterways of the Venetian island of Murano to add the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Stelvio Cipriani’s enjoyable score gleefully incorporates well-known cues from prog-rock band Goblin.

On the downside, Lino Capolicchio plays a typically ineffectual and uninspiring male protagonist – a convention of the giallo genre, seemingly – and wears some particularly off-putting knitwear to remind us this movie was made in 1978 when fashion follies were rife.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA


Other reviews:

Bloodstained Shadow is Italian copycat filmmakers copying their own for a change. And although the film could do with picking up the pace a bit, it has enough going on in the way of twisting mystery and violent murders to ensure that it will keep most fans of the genre happy. It might not be the film to try to introduce anyone to the giallo with, but for those already familiar with the genre and its conventions, this will feel comfortingly familiar.” David Flint, MOV!ES and MAN!A


“Laced with surprises, and enough damning glances to make nearly everyone a suspect, Bido brilliantly guides us through misty waterways, dark alleys, and overpopulated cemeteries to provide an intriguing and thrilling giallo experience.” Dead Shed

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“For all its strengths, The Bloodstained Shadow fails to make it into the top “tier” of gialli. The script is almost entirely derivative of other offerings in the genre, taking most of its cues from Argento’s work.” The Digital Fix

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” …there’s the well-trodden staple threat of the black-cloaked and hooded murderer present and even the quasi-twist of the killer’s identity will be guessed by most viewers before it’s revealed. The acting isn’t brilliant (although the main cast for the most part deliver) and as with many foreign films of the period the dubbing-over of dialogue can be distracting to the audience, but having said that the film isn’t without merit.” Rosie Gibbs, UK Horror Scene




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Cast and characters:

  • Lino Capolicchio … Stefano D’Archangelo
  • Stefania Casini … Sandra Sellani
  • Craig Hill … Don Paolo (as Graig Hill)
  • Massimo Serato … Count Pedrazzi
  • Juliette Mayniel … Signora Nardi
  • Laura Nucci … Sandra’s stepmother
  • Attilio Duse … Gasparre, the sacristan
  • Gianfranco Bullo … Nardi’s son
  • Luigi Casellato … Signor Andreani
  • Alfredo Zammi … Police Commissioner
  • Alina De Simone … Medium (as Alina Simoni)
  • Emilio Delle Piane … Carabineer
  • Sonia Viviani … Girl walking with Signora Nardi (as Sonia Vivani)
  • Sergio Mioni … Doctor Aloisi

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