(Umberto Lenzi, 1972)
A number of seemingly unrelated women are being stalked and killed by a maniac dubbed the "half-moon killer", aptly named as he leaves a silver half-moon keychain on the body of each corpse. Potential victim Julia (Uschi Glas) is stabbed while on a train, but the killer is frightened off and leaves Julia for dead. She recovers, but the police, in an attempt to fool the killer into revealing him or herself, fabricate a news story wherein Julia actually died.
As a memento, the police give Julia's husband Mario (Antonio Sabato) a silver half-moon, which Julia immediately recognizes as being similar to one she'd seen at a seaside hotel two years prior. The police, as usual, are of little assistance, and Julia's cover is soon blown as she and Mario undertake an investigation of their own in an attempt to warn / potentially save the remaining potential victims.
Seven Bloodstained Orchids is one of Lenzi's better gialli. It relies heavily on it's attractive cast of genre regulars (Sabato, Glas, Marisa Mell, Marina Malfatti), great cinematography and lighting, and brutal, yet artistic, murder scenes. Notably, for a pre-slasher film, it contains a death-by-drill scene, however brief it may be. The soundtrack by Riz Ortolani is very catchy; in fact it's still playing in head! On the downside, the story, which moves at a quick pace for the first 40 minutes or so, drags for a bit until the predictable ending. Not bad, I'd say, and worth a watch. Buy it here.
10 months ago