Bloodstained Shadow / Solamente nero (1978)

3.0 out of 5

Director Antonio Bido's second and last giallo is an improvement on its predecessor, thanks largely to an atmospheric Venetian island setting and a much more polished feel all round. The locale gives colour to a fairly routine plot, coming as it did at the fag-end of the genre's heyday.

The House with Laughing Windows star Lino Capolicchio isn't the most riveting of leads it must be said. He looks as though the very act of thinking gives him a headache and hence alternates between frowning and grinning cheesily with no apparent middle ground. At least he had a beard to hide behind in Pupi Avati's film. Love interest Stefania Casini of Suspiria, too, is a little lacking, most likely because Bido and company's script doesn't really give her anything interesting to do.

As with Watch Me When I Kill, Bido studiously apes Argento throughout and does a fairly reasonable job of it, too, although a murder in a rainstorm witnessed through a window is so clumsily handled as to be comical. The great soundtrack, supposedly written by Stelvio Cipriani and performed by Goblin, further contributes to the Argento feel. It's thought that the prog rockers couldn't be credited as composers because of contractual issues with their record company.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics