"That is one thing you can always be sure of. All criminals are out of their minds."
A serial killer is murdering young women around Rome, leaving a silver crescent moon medallion at the scene of each crime as a trademark. His victims include a prostitute, an artist, a patient in a psych ward, a teacher, and a housewife – but are the killings random or are these women somehow linked? One victim, Giulia (Uschi Glas) manages to survive her attack and, with the help of her husband Mario (Antonio Sabato), she follows the clues to find the murderer. Their search leads them to a crumbling villa, a hippie drug den, and a tour of Rome's Christian churches. Can the couple unmask the killer before he finds Giulia and finishes the job?
If you've never seen a giallo or if you want to show someone what a giallo is, Seven Blood Stained Orchids (not to be confused with The Blood Stained Buterfly) is an excellent place to start. It has all the classic elements: beautiful women getting murdered in elaborate ways, stylized camera work, and the classic faceless giallo killer who wears a black coat, hat and gloves. It's sexy, suspenseful, and a little bit trashy. The story is easy to follow and has a satisfying resolution. This might be Umberto Lenzi's best work.
- There are lots of little homages to Mario Bava's two greatest gialli. The harp in Kathy's apartment and the bathtub drowning scene are homages to Blood and Black Lace and the scenes in the newspaper office and at the piazza di spagna recall The Girl Who Knew Too Much. Come to think of it, Uschi Glas looks a lot like Leticia Roman in this movie.
- Also, the poison milk may be a reference to Dario Argento's Cat O'Nine Tails.
- Maria Tedeschi (whom you may remember from a cameo in The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and as Mrs. Moss in The Case of the Bloody Iris) shows up here as a patient in the psych ward.
- You may also remember the improbably named Franco Fantasia (Lt. Renzi) from Knife of Ice.
- Was the old woman in the opening scene murdered? It's never shown, but I think maybe she was, so I've listed her in the body count, above. The killer saw the photo of the woman he was really after on her nightstand and realized that he had the wrong woman. I suspect that he killed her to tie up loose ends, but didn't leave an amulet. That way, her murder wouldn't be connected to the case.
So Mario decides to keep the amulet that the killer sent to Guilia? Why? As a memento of the time she was nearly murdered? Not cool, man.
I love the scene where Elena (Rosella Falk) is screaming in her hospital room and we cut to the nurse, who just rolls her eyes and ignores it.
I also adore the fact that Mario (who is a fashion designer and presumably knows a thing or two about sketching) shows people what is essentially a stick figure and asks them if they recognize the guy. I love it even more that several people can actually put an accurate name to his simple line drawing.
Apparently there's a law in Italy that if you have an awesome car, you can just park it anywhere.
This one belongs to Kathy Adams (Marina Malfatti) for her tiny sequined vest and harem pants.