A lesser-known giallo movie kick-started the third day of the festival. Antonio Bido’s ‘The Bloodstained Shadow’ is a worthy entry into the notable Italian sub-genre despite its little known status. Made in 1978, ‘The Bloodstained Shadow’ contains the expected bizarreness that avid giallo viewers have become accustomed to, including a serpentine plot, dodgy characters, questionable sexual overtones and layers of suspension of disbelief.
The film includes a memorable soundtrack deemed comparable to the likes of Goblin and stunning scenery shot in Venice echoing the sinister spirit of Don’t Look Now, allowing for an unforgettable murder sequence set at the canal. The inclusion of this film in the line-up demonstrated Abertoir’s appreciation for giallo as a whole by celebrating both the established titles while exemplifying the more overlooked offerings.
Up next was acclaimed author and genre figure, Gavin Baddeley’s annual Abertoir talk. This year Gavin opted for a theme that slotted in perfectly with the festival’s giallo celebrations with the talk entitled, “Spaghetti and Splatter”. Filled with equal amounts of insight and intrigue, Gavin explored the development of Italian cinema from its Western roots to its connections to giallo and horror. Gavin once again applied a historical and cultural context to the talk, bringing in an interesting depth with an injection of tongue in cheek humour and bad taste proving why his presentations are always a favourite staple at Abertoir.
On the third day of the festival, the line-up included two drastically different yet highly anticipated horror movies. One from the USA, in frightening festive flick, Better Watch Out and unusual, psychological body horror in Can Evrenol’s, Housewife. Better Watch out is a home invasion with a deranged twist audiences will not see coming!
It is ideal to go in expectation-less, avoiding all trailers and experiencing the scares and shocks first hand. Better Watch Out is a delightfully thrilling home invasion like no other, however has proved divisive amongst audiences due to the disturbing punch it packs while remaining gift-wrapped in ironic comedy. Despite the tone being somewhat unbalanced, it all adds to the effectiveness in which direction it will ultimately take with a hopefully satisfying ending. If you have seen Better Watch Out, you can check out my spoiler-filled review in collaboration with Darren Gaskell below:
Housewife on the other hand was an entirely different cinematic experience altogether. Turkish director Can Evrenol (Baskin) delivers a unique trippiness and distorted style of storytelling as he depicts a disturbed woman who struggles to come to grips with her own reality. Traumatized in her childhood at the hands of her troubled mother, Holly (Clémentine Poidatz) is struggling within her own marriage. Housewife incorporates a mesmerizing quality about it as Evrenol implements his own style and zaniness to the piece, while maintaining a dark essence.
It veers off the boil by the end following a gradual build-up of careful plotting and layers of mystery to keep the audiences interest piqued. Disturbingly gory and visually hypnotic, Housewife is an innovative albeit highly strange piece of filmmaking that’s completely worth seeing.