The Bloodstained Butterfly is a giallo from director Duccio Tessari that plays like a blood drenched Italian soap opera. It’s a must for those who like their period thrillers, but its slow pacing may put-off those who like their hack and slash with a bit more urgency.
This 1971 thriller sees a young student murdered with all signs of blame pointing to her TV personality lover (Giancarlo Sbragia). However, the case isn’t as open and shut as it would appear when the body count starts rising it begins to look like the police have arrested the wrong man.
The giallo thrived in Italy in the 1970s and while many were often poor exploitation movies, some like the The Bloodstained Butterfly attempted to push the genre forward. Tessari tries to add a layer of sophistication and complexity to the plot and while it might not be as visually stylish as other giallos, it does hold up quite well in the storytelling stakes.
The Bloodstained Butterfly is far from perfect and there’s a lot of meandering as the film leads the audience on its winding tale of murder. However, it’s a solid cult diversion that’s a well made example of Italian genre movies of the time.
God bless Arrow Films. The label stacks The Bloodstained Butterfly with exceptional extras. There’s a career retrospective on Duccio Tessari, a commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman and a wonderful visual essay by Troy Howarth (he goes into detail on the film and the giallo in general). The film is also remastered and comes with both English and Italian soundtracks (make sure you opt for the original Italian).