Blu-ray Review: THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW Makes Its HD Debut From 88 Films UK

Contributing Writer; Texas, USA
Blu-ray Review: THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW Makes Its HD Debut From 88 Films UK
88 Films returns to the fore with our new review of their recent Blu-ray release of Antonio Bido's middle-of-the-road giallo, The Bloodstained Shadow

Bido was not as prolific a director as many during the heyday of this uniquely Italian genre boom. He only had seven films on his CV as a director, and of those, only two of note. His first as a director in 1977 was Watch Me When I Kill, a sleazy little number about a murderous psychopath, and his second was this, a blood-soaked stop along in Italy's peaceful countryside, The Bloodstained Shadow. After that, it seemed to go downhill, and Bido was mostly out of the business by 1991. However, as far as giallo go, this is better than most, with the field having been so overrun by the late '70s.

The film features a young man named Stefano who moves to the countryside looking for a break from the hustle of the big city. He is met there by his elder brother, Don Paolo, a local catholic priest. However, just when he's preparing to settle in, the country side erupts in blood as one victim after another succumbs to the hands of a black gloved killer, determined to keep certain secrets quiet, no matter the cost. When Stefano and Don Paolo begin to unravel the mystery, the blood starts to drip closer and closer to their doors. Will they escape the murderer's intentions?

Far from the "certified giallo masterpiece" promised by the back cover copy, The Bloodstained Shadow is, nonetheless, a satisfyingly entertaining film. Bido, who was apparently a student of Dario Argento, though I'm not entirely sure in what capacity, has a relatively solid grasp of what makes giallo films work, though he doesn't' quite seem to have the ability to give us anything new to chew on with this film. We get all of the expected kills, some surprisingly tasteful nudity and sex, and religious iconography, but nothing to really jump out and grab the audience. It's kind of a shame, because if Bido had been able to wrangle the religious aspects more effectively, I think he could've been onto something. As it stands, the film feels rather flat with only sporadic violence to spice up the proceedings.

The Bloodstained Shadow is a giallo for completists, but the casual fan will certainly be able to find a dozen or more films of higher quality to scratch that itch. Unfortunately, this one only gets a minor recommendation with the above caveat. It's not bad, it's just not great either.

The Disc:

88 Films brings The Bloodstained Shadow to Blu-ray for the first time on a Region B locked disc for UK/Europe and region free customers. The film was previously released in the US on a DVD from Blue Underground, but this presentation is a hefty AV upgrade over that one. Not many '70s Italian genre films look great upon the transition to Blu-ray, but fans of the film will be happy with what they get here. We are also treated to two language tracks, Italian (with English subtitles) and English. Both were post dubbed, so there's no real original audio option, however, I do prefer the English dub for its often hilarious literal translations and flat delivery, that actually added to my enjoyment of the film.

In terms of extras, we get only and alternate language opening and closing credits sequence. The back of the disc says that a booklet with writing from Calum Waddell is also included in retail copies, but it was not provided for this review. My biggest issue in terms of the disc is the fact that the English and Italian language tracks are not switchable during play. If you want to switch from one to the other, you have to go back to the top menu and select the other audio option, and then use the FF or chapter skips to regain your place in the film. A minor issue for some, but it's something that irked me to no end.

All in all, the disc is fine and the movie is decent. I'm a lot more excited about some of the other releases coming from 88 Films' Italian Collection, so as I see them, I'll keep you updated.
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88 FilmsAntonio BidoBlu-raygialloItaly

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