|Craig Hill and Lino Capolicchio|
Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) comes to Venice to visit his brother, the priest Don Paolo (Craig Hill), who lives in a small town on an island near the city. Haunted by an incident where a young woman was murdered years ago, Stefamo's memories are awakened by a series of new murders. Stefano begins an relationship with Sandra (Stefania Casini of Suspiria), whose own stepmother (Laura Nucci) becomes one of the victims of a fiendish killer. The Bloodstained Shadow is a reasonably intriguing Italian thriller/giallo film whose murders are not quite as gory as in similar films, but we do have the sequence when a woman's head is thrust into a fireplace and is engulfed in flames. Other characters, suspects, and victims include a midwife, Signora Nardi (Juliette Maynial); Count Pedrazzi (Massimo Serato), a music teacher whom Don Paolo accuses of fiddling with his young male students (a sequence which given recent events in the Catholic church may raise some eyebrows); and Dr. Aloisi (Sergio Mioni), among others. After a few red herrings and twists, a satisfying conclusion unmasks the killer and also provides a mostly believable motivation. The film's production is greatly enhanced by location filming and the brooding shots of mysterious Venice and environs. Craig Hill [Detective Story] was a B movie leading man and TV performer in the fifties and sixties who later did much work in Italy. Juliette Maynial was most famous for Eyes Without a Face.
Verdict: Has its flaws, and it's not especially stylish, but it's one of the better giallo films. ***.