Director: Edo Tagliavini
Writers: Mario Calamita, Virgilio Olivari,, Edo Tagliavini, Taiyo Yamanouchi
Stars: Francesca Faiella, Virgilio Olivari, Marco Benevento
Not content with merely harking back to the golden days of the 1960s and 1970s, it seems that Italian filmmakers are now also drawing inspiration for the less celebrated horror films of the 1980s. If this smacks of desperation it is: there hasn’t been a truly effective Italian horror film for some years now and when the likes of Delirium and Murderock are retrospectively held up as classic productions, well, then you really are starting out from a low benchmark. How else to explain Bloodline, a 2010 film directed by Edo Tagliavini which has gained a few half decent reviews since it was released.
The plot follows a pair of rather hapless reporters, Sandra (Francesca Faiella) and Marco (Marco Benevento), who work for a sleazy internet-only news company. Their latest ‘scoop’ is getting rare behind the scenes access to a pornographic movie directed by the legendary Klaus Kinki (!) (Paolo Ricci) and starring celebrated adult stars Tony (Virgilio Olivari) and Victoria (Valentina Del Rio). Sandra has some doubts, not least because many years earlier her twin sister went missing in exactly the same woods where this film is due to be shot, one of the very final victims of a serial killer called The Surgeon, who was notorious for removing the organs of those he killed. Needless to say, almost as soon as the the crew arrives on location people start being killed off by a copycat killer; and in the meantime Sandra keeps on seeing the ghost of her sister, which also makes a habit of possessing any handy corpses in the vicinity and wreaking yet more carnage.
Hmmm, yes. This is an exemplary case of the proverbial Italian tendency to chuck everything into the mix in the hope that some half decent might come out in the end. And, as usually happens, the result is a huge and almighty mess. So you have zombies, ghosts, a not ineffective serial killer, porn movies, torture sequences and a bloke with a hideous pony tail who’s a dead ringer for Miles O’Keefe (as he was in the extremely forgettable Fashion Crimes). Unfortunately, none of which means that it’s any good: the story is a grab bag of cliches and exclamation marks, a kind of Bloodsucker Leads the Dance or The Playgirls and the Vampire for the Twitter generation. It took four writers to come up with the script for all this and it certainly looks like it: unfortunately none of them appear to have actually talked to each other during the writing process.
Tagliavini’s direction is basic but not exactly terrible: this isn’t really any worse or better than the poorer films made by Lamberto Bava or Umberto Lenzi in the 1980s. His inexperience shows, however, in the fact that he doesn’t seem to realise that it might be an idea to concentrate on doing one thing well rather than doing twenty different things badly. Furthermore, it suffers from the cheesy ‘alternative culture’ viewpoint which is so rife in Italian horror films today (see also Tulpa, perdizione mortale), exhibiting a fascination for ‘deviant culture’ which would have been contemporary twenty years ago but seems old hat nowadays. The acting is extremely variable, with most of the of the supporting cast being a shade of terrible. Old hands Claudio Simonetti and Sergio Stivaletti contribute a decent soundtrack and special effects respectively.