Gialloween Day 10: The Case of the Bloody Iris
Ten days into our Gialloween series and we finally have an appearance from giallo royalty Edwige Fenech and George Hilton! Released as a cash-in/one-off at the height of the genre’s popularity in 1972, The Case of the Bloody Iris aka What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood on Jennifer’s Body? (wowza) is a giallo so paint by numbers, hardly anything it does is original. While it lacks in creativity, director Giuliano Carnimeo (as Anthony Ascot) manages to deliver enough spectacle and sleaze to elevate Iris to the rare party giallo status. Fans looking to explore outside of Argento, Bava, and Martino can’t do much better than this.
Following a series of murders in a chic high-rise, beautiful model Jennifer moves into the apartment that belonged to one of the victims. All seems to be going well with her roommate Marilyn and handsome new squeeze, building architect Andrea. Soon enough, Jennifer finds herself stalked by a mysterious figure from her past as well as a masked, leather gloved killer. Surrounded by danger and an inept police department, everyone, including her friends and neighbors seem suspect.
Attractive women, flashy clothes, posh sets, and a wonderfully jazzy lounge soundtrack that brings it all together, Iris is filled with so much it barely has time to hit the dreaded ‘slow crawl’ that befalls so many films in the genre. In addition to its great pacing, the film is packed with believable red herrings that will keep most viewers guessing until the final reveal.
Visually the film’s many set pieces combined with the great camera work always give the viewers something to look at. Iris certainly doesn’t show anything we haven’t seen before but man, it does a good job going through the greatest hits. Spiral staircases, fancy clubs, unique lighting and framing all do well to hold attention throughout. Much like how the production design in The House with Laughing Windows added a sense of dread and mystery that pervaded through the film, Iris utilizes its many vogue locations and garish colors similarly to the opposite effect for a light and fun experience.
The bevy of female characters that are easy on the eyes is high and the number of outfits they wear is higher. Ranging from high fashion to high camp this is the most “fashionable” giallo in our series thus far. One of the few distinguishing things about this film is its off-kilter humor. Every so often a character will spout an innuendo or make a joke that comes out of nowhere and hits hard. Jennifer’s roommate, Marilyn, is without a doubt the biggest goofball in the genre I’ve seen. Outside of Jennifer’s massive yellow tie, she is in the running for the film’s MVP.
The Case of the Bloody Iris is comparable to the perfect comfort food dish. Far from fine dining, but also above a greasy meal that will leave you feeling disgusted with yourself, this film consistently hits the right spot between the highs and low of the genre. Good enough to leave you satisfied, it will also leave you hungry enough to go back for more servings with a feeling of pleasure.