The Case of the Bloody Iris

The Case of the Bloody Iris  

"Ill tear you like I tore the petals of the iris! You're an object and you belong to me!"

Jennifer Lansbury (Edwige Fenech) recently escaped from a naked hippie group-sex cult, led by her jealous "husband" Adam (Ben Cara) (it's not certain if their "celestial marriage" is legal) and is making a living in the city as a model. Her new boyfriend, architect Andrea Barto (George Hilton) is also her new landlord, but people in his building have a bad habit of getting murdered. Commissioner Enci (Giampiero Albertini) and his assistant Redi (Franco Agostini) are on the case. Adam is overtly stalking Jennifer, but is he the killer? Could it be the creepy old lady down the hall or even Andrea himself? And is the closeted lesbian next door somehow involved? Here's a hint: The answer to one of these question is "yes."

The Case of the Bloody Iris (not to be confused with Seven Blood Stained Orchids) is, without question, one of my favorite gialli for a number of reasons: the wonderful cast of crazy characters, the stylish direction, the sexy harpsichord music, and the fantastic, fast-moving script that keeps the mystery constantly moving and evolving.  But most of all, The Case of the Bloody Iris succeeds because it is scary, bloody, sexy, trashy, and suspenseful in the perfect proportions. While many gialli focus only on the scares, gore, or sex, this one has everything. Plus, it's funny! That's an element that most gialli ignore completely, but the supporting cast delivers much-needed comic relief between the scares and the bewbs. Clearly, director Anthony Ascott knows that above all else, movies are supposed to be fun.
  •  If you think Oreste Lionello ("Arthur" the photographer) looks like an Italian Woody Allen, that's no accident. Lionello was a successful voice-over actor and was the Italian voice of Woody Allen for years. He also dubbed Robin Williams, Gene Wilder, and Charlie Chaplin.
  • You may also recognize the "Italian Peter Lorrie," Luciano Pigozzi (from the classics Blood & Black Lace and Naked You Die) as the nightclub owner.
  • This marks the third collaboration of giallo's "Golden Couple," Edwige Fenech and George Hilton. They previously worked together in Blade of the Ripper (a.k.a. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh) and All the Colors of the Dark (which, technically, is not a giallo).
  • Notice the harp in Sheila's room - an obvious homage to Blood and Black Lace.
  • In the background of one of the street scenes, look for a poster for the movie Dirty Harry, under it's Italian title: Ispettore Callaghan: il caso Scorpio è tuo
What the Hell Am I Watching?
Oh my god, take your pick of scenes. Model Mizar Harrington (Carla Brait) has an unusual nightclub act: she invites men from the audience to wrestle with her for three minutes and if they win... it's not clear what happens. Sexy times? A cash prize? The point is, no one ever wins.

After Mizar is murdered in her bathtub, Jennifer and Marilyn move into the apartment and Marilyin thinks it would be a fun, kooky prank to fake her own drowning. This does not go over well with Andrea and Jennifer. Andrea slaps the naked girl across the face and she just shrugs it off as if to say "Eh, I had it coming."

At one point, Jennifer gets back into her apartment and finds Adam waiting for her. He rips her clothes off and throws her on the couch. And that's where the scene ends. Seriously. Did he rape her? Did he just turn around and leave? Did she fight back? We'll never know.

At the police station, Jennifer meets with Commissioner Enci, who tells her to stay in the apartment to draw out the killer. Enci is clearly psychotic.

Fashion Moment
 There's a lot of crazy early-70's fashion in this film, but I love Sheila's masculine suits best. Notice that the first time we see Jennifer, she's topless (in body paint) and her wardrobe is very girly, but it becomes increasingly masculine as the film progresses, as she gets closer to Sheila, until she's wearing similar suits.