The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971) Arrow Video Blu-ray Review



Loads of special features and the film is nicely remastered. It is also rewarding to the more patient viewer.

Plot: A celebrity is arrested for the brutal murder of his lover. Although the evidence seems damning, the killer strikes again while he’s in custody.

Review: A teen girl is walking home from school and someone follows her. She’s later found murdered in the woods, and an eyewitness places a TV star named Alessandro (Giancarlo Sbragia) at the scene, fleeing. That same rainy evening, police detectives comb the murder site for clues. They take a mold of a footprint, find some fingerprints, and over the course of some painstaking procedures deduce that the man they have in custody – Alessandro – is indeed the killer, but while he’s on trial, a similar slaying occurs, thickening the plot. Is Alessandro the original killer, or was he set up? Is the detective on the case (played by Helmut Berger) having a nervous breakdown, and did he commit the second murder?

The Bloodstained Butterfly is just as much an Italian poliziotteschi (action crime) film as it is a giallo (slasher mystery) picture, but it probably works better as a crime movie than a horror film. The first third of the movie deals with the first murder with some solid scenes that establish the way the crime solving system works, and the second act of the movie introduces new characters, establishes relationships, and concentrates on the murder trial, while the third act sort of turns it all upside down and gets busy with the mystery and the action. It’s never spooky or scary, but there is indeed a mystery, and the climax involves a violent chase and shootout, and yet The Bloodstained Butterfly is still widely considered a giallo. It can work that way, but if you go into it thinking you’re going to get a traditional gloved killer thriller / horror exercise, you’ll be disappointed. If you watch it with an open mind and some patience, and have a high tolerance for exposition and a wealth of Italian thrillers under your movie-watching belt, you might appreciate this film.

Arrow Video has just released a brand new region 1 Blu-ray/DVD combo of The Bloodstained Butterfly, and fans of the film and connoisseurs of the genre will greatly admire what Arrow has done with this release. They’ve restored the film in a 4K restoration process from the camera negative, with revised subtitles (it’s available to watch in Italian or in English), and have included a wealth of special features on the disc, including a new audio commentary and oodles of interviews and featurettes. Also, a fresh piece of artwork was commissioned specially for this release, though the original artwork can be found on the reverse side of the sleeve. If you’re a hardcore collector of giallos, then this release should be on your radar.