Luna, a blonde wearing a miniskirt, walks down a city street. She goes to a high-rise apartment building and is buzzed in. She doesn’t live in the building but someone who is expecting her does. She gets on an elevator, one that is full of people. One person in the elevator obviously notices when she enters. Eventually, everyone gets off the elevator, except for Luna and that one person. As the elevator approaches the top floor, Luna is suddenly stabbed to death. The murderer flees. When the elevator reaches the top floor, three residents discover Luna’s dead body….
And none of them seem to care!
Professor Isaacs (George Riguad) stares at the body, unconcerned. Miss Moss (Maria Tedeschi) makes a few judgmental comments about the victim. Mizar (Carla Brait) does, at least, scream when she finds the dead body but, ultimately, she’s more worried about how she’s going to get downstairs so that she can get to her job as a stripper/performance artist in a sleazy club.
Yes, we’ve entered giallo territory! The Italian giallo films are known for their brutal murders, stylish visuals, convoluted plots, and their black-gloved killers. However, what I always find to be most disturbing about them is that it’s rare that anyone really cares about all of the murders or the victims. Instead, giallo films are often full of bystanders who, at the most, get mildly annoyed at the idea of their day being interrupted by someone else’s murder. The typical giallo takes place in a heartless world, one where even the most grotesque scenes are often viewed with a disturbing nonchalance. That’s certainly the case with the opening of the 1972 Italian film, The Case of the Bloody Iris.
The rest of the film centers on Jennifer Langsbury (Edwige Fenech) and Marilyn (Paola Quattrini), two models who have recently been hired to star in a series of print ads for the building. They also live in the building, which would seem convenient if not for the fact that there’s also a killer on the loose who is only targeting young, single women. Even without the murders occurrin around her, Jennifer is struggling a bit getting adjusted to the world. Before becoming a model, she was a member of hippie sex cult and the cult’s leader, Adam (Ben Carra), has a bad habit of randomly showing up and demanding that she return to him. However, Jennifer is far more interested in Andrea Anitnori (giallo mainstay George Hilton), the handsome architect who built the building and who has an obsessive phobia about blood, which is going to be a bit of a problem because a lot of blood is about to be spilt.
Got all that?
The Case of the Bloody Iris is a typical, if entertaining, giallo, which means there’s a lot of sex, a lot of blood, a lot of bizarre suspects, and a few incredibly incompetent police detectives. It’s also pretty damn enjoyable, even if it doesn’t exactly break a lot of new ground as far as the genre is concerned. While director Giuliano Carnimeo never matches the visual heights of an Argento, a Bava, a Martino, or even a Lenzi, he still does a good job keeping the action moving and he shows just enough of a flair for capturing stylistic violence to make his film worthy of the genre. While the mystery itself doesn’t always make a lot of sense (which is actually to be expected when it comes to the giallo genra), The Case of the Bloody Iris features Edwige Fenech and George Hilton, two mainstays of the genre, at their best and (even though dubbed) most charismatic. It’s an enjoyable little thriller, one that’s worth the 90 minutes that it takes to watch it.