Andrea Barto (George Hilton) has had a run of bad luck lately. One of his female tenants in an apartment building he owns was brutally stabbed to death in the elevator. This event has left some units vacant and hard to fill so to counter-attack the ill effects a murder can have on a dwelling, Andrea decides to do some vanguard advertising. He finds a model willing to live in the building rent free. The plan being that when people find out a gorgeous model resides in the building, people will scramble to get in one of the remaining units. Unfortunately for Andrea, the model he picked is murdered shortly after moving into her new apartment, drowned in her bathtub. Undeterred by now having two murders tainting his building along with a possible serial killer, he offers a room to model Jennifer (the gorgeous Edwige Fenech) and her ditzy best friend Marilyn. However, on the first night in their new pad, Jennifer is accosted by a masked, gloved intruder who tries to strangle her but is scared off before completing the deed. Commissioner Enci and Inspector have set their sites on Andrea as the culprit because of his past relationship with one of the victims and the simple fact that he has easy access throughout the building. But is he the person responsible? Can the killer be stopped before they strike again? Will the Inspector ever get to finish his sandwich? Will Marilyn ever grow a brain? You find all of this out, and much more, in The Case of the Bloody Iris.
Oh, the trailer below has a bit of titty in it, so if you are at work or something, you’ve been warned (it’s pretty tame but still)
Also known by the cooler title, What Are Those Strange Drops Of Blood Doing On Jennifer’s Body?, Bloody Iris is regularly found at the top of many giallo lover’s lists, including mine. Giuliano Carnimeo (directing under the pseudonym, Anthony Ascott) delivers some trashy fun with his one-and-only giallo entry stuffed to the gills with an eccentric cast of characters in a film with an extreme ’70s vibe to it. Vibrant colors are used in the locations as well as the clothing worn by the models and the title track by Bruno Nicolai played throughout the film helps keep the groove going – and is almost impossible to get out of your head once you have heard it.
Even thought this was his first film in the genre, Carnimeo – mostly known for his spaghetti westerns – is still able to deliver the goods and navigates through some of the dialog in Ernesto Gastaldi’s (Torso and The Whip and the Body) screenplay that includes such choice lines as Andrea informing Jennifer “Don’t thank me just yet. Wait till I try to make it with you and you find out what a bastard I am“. Luckily, Gastaldi and most of the cast are giallo veterans and aside from the director himself, no stranger to the genre or the people who watch it. Bloody Iris relies more on sleaze than gore, it’s stuffed with all the sex, violence, red herrings and kink genre fans may be looking for. They even manage to get in a bit of childhood trauma thrown in for good measure.
One of the reasons why I enjoy this film so much is because of all the oddball characters that it contains. This goes for the victims, the suspects and even the police themselves all of which have some type of quirky character trait. The grizzled stamp collecting Commisioner with a strange fascination with other people’s sex lives and his aloof Inspector with a serious love of sandwiches. The African American model who works at a club performing an act that involves her wrestling with men in 3-minute intervals so that they can have sex with her right there on the floor in front of the patrons if they win. The flaming cheesecake photographer and Jennifer’s ex-husband who is also the Manson-ish leader of a drug-and-sex cult. Andrea’s crippling phobia of blood. The old woman who reads crime comics while also guarding a secret, the reclusive musician who plays the violin at all hours of the night and his lesbian daughter who stares at Jennifer and Marilyn like a starving man at a juicy steak. It keeps the film interesting while giving you a host of possible killers to keep you on your toes.
As usual, Edwige Fenech is absolutely beautiful and manages to change outfits in this film more than a dancer in a Vegas show. She may not be convincing as an English model but she handles the confused, helpless damsel in distress like a seasoned pro and has no problems removing her top, so that’s always a plus. The suspense scenes are done well, especially in the multitude of stalk scenes and the final act in the building’s boiler room – Stelvio Massi‘s cinematography uses the spacious environments to great effect. Carnimeo does rely on the zoom shot way, way too much for my liking and some of the awkward dialog does help keep the film a bit on the unintentionally funny side (not helped by some of the English dubbing – the Mizar Harrington strip club scene in particular). But even with its faults The Case of the Bloody Iris is still an entertaining film to watch even if it never reaches the levels of Bava or Argento, and contains enough good stuff to recommend if you are a fan of giallo or not.
Oh, here is a video I made a long time ago poking fun at all the zoom-ins employed in the film.
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