The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972), Giallo to the max!

The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972) - IMDb
Edwige Fenech as Jennifer and the longest title ever: “Why are those strange drops of blood on Jennifer’s body?”

Jennifer (Edwige Fenech) and her friend, Marilyn (Paola Quattrini), move into an apartment building where two other women were murdered, but you know… vacancies are low in Rome so they are delighted. The commissioner (Giampiero Albertini) is tracking down information about Mizar (Carla Brait), the second victim. Be prepared for some racism there. Andrea (George Hilton), the building’s architect, is the chief suspect and he strikes up a relationship with Jennifer. All that we see of the murderer is creepy, transparent, tight rubber gloves and a head to toe black outfit, even a black scarf over the face. Complicating things is Jennifer’s personal history. She was in a polyamorous sex cult run by her husband, Adam (Ben Carra), who is now stalking her, leaving behind the bloody irises from the English title. In typical Giallo style, the plot is convoluted beyond belief but it’s fun rather than exhausting to keep up with.

This movie is so stereotypically Giallo that it’s the platonic ideal. Right away, the soundtrack is fabulous. It’s exuberant, it’s intrusive, it’s so seventies it hurts. They filmed in Rome, and the city looks great, not even that different from now, with the boxy little cars zipping around. The fashions are to die for and all of the characters look flawless with those heavy fake lashes and big hair. Even the violence is stylish rather than gory. The inevitable huge cast of side characters is all more wonderful than expected, especially the photographer Arthur (Oreste Lionello). The person dubbing Arthur is just too good, he plays the worst gay stereotype you will ever hear and it is utterly compelling. The lesbian neighbour, Sheila (Annabella Incontrera), is beautiful and just slightly too intense but Marilyn doesn’t seem put off. There is even a running gag where the inspector, Renzi (Franco Agostini), always gets clocked as a cop in public: genuinely funny. And to cap it all off, the film ends with a random new character mirroring the first scene of the film about getting the apartment, making it all a commentary on the housing market in Rome or something? Thus, the vibe for the film is non-stop fun. A perfect treat that I can highly recommend, and not one I’d ever seen on a list of top Giallo films (it’s available on Shudder).

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