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A giallo with the emphasis on the mystery, not the murders
A girl is murdered in a park. A suspect is tried and convicted but the killings continue.
The Bloodstained Butterfly is a giallo that occupies the more restrained side of the genre. Despite having a plot revolving around a series of knife murders, it doesn't really focus on these killings. One is shown briefly in flash-back, while the others are essentially committed off-screen. Instead, the narrative concentrates more on the mystery. For this reason it is on the more sober and intelligent side of the giallo genre. Quite a bit of the story is taken up with the police procedural angle and court-room scenes. And similar to many others in the sub-genre, an intense melodrama underpins the murder mystery; and, as is often the case, it's populated by a group of quite unsympathetic people. These are made up with the usual concoction of the psychologically troubled and the sleazily untrustworthy.
While the emphasis on melodrama and detective/courtroom dynamics might not be to everyone's taste, it works here. The mystery is compelling and you are kept guessing all the way. I can't say I predicted the outcome either, which is always a bonus. But in amongst all of this are some great typical giallo moments such as the opening scenes in the park with the killer making a get away shot from a number of nice angles. In general, as you might expect from this type of film it is photographed well throughout and has a good soundtrack too. It also has a somewhat unusual opening credit sequence where we are introduced to all of the main characters where they are shown with their moniker displayed on screen. This is quite good, as these films almost always have convoluted plot-lines and this helps ease us into proceedings with a quick look at whose who in the film about to start.
The Bloodstained Butterfly is overall a pretty involving mystery. It isn't a horror-orientated thriller at all though, so if that's what you're after you'd be best looking elsewhere. But it has the specific mood and essence that early 70's gialli have. If you're a fan of the sub-genre you should check this one out.
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