Seven Blood-Stained Orchids
seven blood-stained orchids | umberto lenzi | antonio sabato | uschi glas | pier paolo capponi | mystery | thriller | giallo | italy | west germany | riz ortolani | rossella falk | marina malfatti | renato romano | claduio gora | based on | novel | cornell woolrich
Film: Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (Sette orchidee macchiato di rosso)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Roberto Gianviti and Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Antonio Sabato, Uschi Glas and Pier Paolo Capponi
This is a movie that I learned about thanks to podcasts. It is one that popped up periodically so I made sure it was on my list of things to check out. I’ve seen a few Umberto Lenzi films throughout the years, but he’s a director that I have some blind spots with. This popped up here on the randomizer for my New Year, New Movie of things I haven’t seen.
Synopsis: a woman, a survivor of a failed murder attempt by a person dubbed ‘The Half-Moon Killer’ by the police and her husband must find the connecting thread between herself as well as six other women before the killer strikes at her again.
We start this off with someone driving. There is smooth music that goes with these opening credits. This person goes into an apartment and attacks someone that is in bed. We see a picture on the nightstand of Ines Tamburini (Gariella Giorgelli). It then shifts over to her and we see that she is a prostitute. She goes off with the person in the car. They chase her into a field where she is murdered. The police find her and notice there is a talisman in her hand. It is of a half-moon. They learn who the victim is and she went by the nickname of Toscana.
It then shifts over to our leads. Giulia Torresi (Uschi Glas) is engaged to marry Mario Gerosa (Antonio Sabato). They’re going on a trip together where they’re taking a train. There is a call for Giulia, but when she goes to answer it, there is no one there.
This also happens to an English painter who is living here in Italy. Her name is Kathy Adams (Marina Malfatti). She gets a similar call, but once again, when she answers it there is no one on the line. She goes home and gives her cats milk to find out that it is tainted. She is then attacked as well. Giulia is also attacked on the train when Mario left.
She survives though. The police report that she is dead to protect her and use her to help figure out how she along with the other victims are connected. Giulia learns that it involved a hotel she managed. It is something along these lines. Mario is helping the police to figure out what this has to do with his fiancée along with these other women. They’re up against the clock though as the killer continues to pick off the other victims in the process.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is with Lenzi, the co-writer and director. I’ve seen one other of his gialli films in Spasmo. That one featured a deranged killer like this one did. It is a bit different with the rationale, but I’m not going to spoil who is doing this and why.
Where I want to start then would be with how the victims are connected. I’ve already a given away a bit of this, but it has to do with this hotel on a certain day. That was cool since we have enough victims. This movie has one of the best titles and it plays back into the story. The killer leaves orchids that look like they’re blood stained. We also potentially have seven victims so there is that as well. The giallo elements are also good along with this. The police aren’t bumbling and are trying to figure out who the killer is. They are just lacking evidence to go by. Mario is worried about Giulia so the two of them are trying to figure out who could be doing it. She can’t remember who it could be or why. We get that good troupe though that the more information they discover, the more she remembers as well. I thought this was thought out well. I didn’t realize this is also based on a novel, which also helps.
I don’t know if there is more that I need to go into with the story so let me take this over to the kills. This has a black gloved killer, but they don’t necessarily use a knife or a straight razor. They also switch up the weapon with the kills. What is interesting here is that this comes out well before the slasher boom, but I could even consider this a proto slasher with the different items used. I also enjoyed that quite a bit.
Next, I’ll go over to the acting. Before going into the specific individuals, I did want to say that this had me guessing until the reveal who was doing this. I don’t immediately hate a giallo if I guess who the killer is. If they can hide it though, it is a bonus. I also don’t find it to be a cheat here. What they do and who it turns out to be interesting. I thought that Sabato and Glas are good as our two leads. It feels real why they’re looking into who is behind this and why. I like Pier Paolo Capponi as Inspector Vismara who is looking into this case. Rossella Falk, Malfatti, Giorgelli and Petra Schürmann are all good as victims. I’d also say that Renato Romano, Claudio Gora and the rest of the cast also round this out for what was needed.
The last things then to go into would be with the filmmaking. I think that we get good cinematography here. This is shot well. I’ve already said that I like the kills and the effects used there were fine. There were no issues there. Other than that, I’d say that the soundtrack was good. I like the smooth opening song and they have good selections throughout. It fit the vibe of a giallo.
In conclusion, I rather enjoyed this Lenzi giallo film. I think that it is well made. We get an interesting story. How the characters are tangled makes sense. There are red herrings that kept me guessing until the reveal which I thought was good. The acting was solid across the board. No one stands out, but there isn’t a bad performance. I like the variety of kills and the effects there were good. This was also well-made in my opinion. This is one that I’m glad that I could tick of my list. Makes me want to watch more Lenzi gialli as well.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10