Who to Trust? – The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972)

As Anthony Ascott, director Giuliano Carnimeo would not only deliver a few spaghetti westerns during his tenure, but this movie as well, a giallo as good as any despite the fact it featured every cliché in the book. It is, by all accounts, a film that never fails to entertain, both the director and the cast having fun with the material and is suspenseful enough that it never seems overlong. The picture of course deals with a killer, one who seems obsessed with killing the ladies who reside in a particular apartment building and after the latest body is removed, two more move in, including the always lovely Edwige Fenech, no stranger to those that love the giallo genre.

While Carnimeo keeps the audience guessing for the most part, there is a scene in which he gives everything away and there is no doubt as to the killer’s identity. Being put together the way it was though, it could have been a red herring as there are multiple suspects to be had. As it is, it does eventually turn out to be true and yet it never manages to dilute any of the magic present. Fenech carries the film as the beautiful, but damaged model. She is troubled by her past which comes back to haunt her in the form of her ex-husband who believes that she can never leave him and the group they belonged to, an almost cult-like existence and by those around her, as everyone seems to have some kind of agenda towards her. George Hilton is quite good as the man everyone wants to believe is the killer, though with his blood phobia, it is a little hard to imagine the man being able to murder all those women. Giampiero Albertini plays the token police commissioner who is determined to crack the case and who believes the perpetrator to be Hilton even though it never makes much logistical sense and Carla Brait also stars, albeit briefly, as the stripper/wrestler who ends up being one of the first victims. Paola Quattrini is humourous as the best friend while Annabella Incontrera lands the role of the lesbian next door who is attracted to Fenech’s character and like many an Italian film, there is no shortage of beautiful women present.

As previously stated, Carnimeo throws everything but the kitchen sink in this film – the masked killer, the mysterious burn victim who lives next door, many a shot of the killer’s gloved hands, nudity, obsession, blood, murder and more. While a person could literally sit and point out every familiar trope available in the giallo handbook, without them, the film would have been a very different beast and quite possibly, not as good. The direction was solid, the players were talented and gave their best even though some of the dialogue was lacking just a little and the score worked perfectly to enhance the viewing experience.

With a very moody atmosphere, a lot of curve balls as to who the killer could be, twists and turns, a few laughs – unintentional or not, enough killing for any horror buff and to top it off, featuring Fenech as the damsel in distress, Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer? as it is known in the original Italian, is a giallo that cannot be missed for any fan of the genre.

3.5 out of 5

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