Review Date: April 11, 2004
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 7/9/2002
MSRP: $$59.99 (box set)
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
A bonus disc in Anchor Bay's Giallo Collection, The Case of the Bloody Iris
is a giallo that borrows parts from Psycho
(which giallo doesn't?) and even more from Bava and Argento. Released in the peak stages of the giallo boom in Europe (1972), Iris has largely been left behind, while films like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
and Blood and Black Lace
get all the praise. Is this a bloody good movie, or more so a case of boredom?
The film introduces the audience to a beautiful blonde bombshell as she prepares to go and visit a friend. A fair bit is spent tracking her journey to her friend's apartment, as she crosses streets and waits in an elevator. After much time has passed, the beauty is unexpectedly slain by a man in black, and the film is thus in search of a heroin. Up to take the reigns from the bombshell is Mizar (Carla Brait), a feisty black lady who can take any man in a wrestling match. Not only can she fight like a pro, but she's also got plenty of good looks to spare, and because of such she attracts the lust of an architect, Andrea Barto (George Hilton).
Mizar, having discovered the death of the blonde girl, finds herself in the same predicament as she, as the man in black stalks her every move. Then, in another spurt of unpredictability, she too is killed off by the gloved madman. That's two would-be heroines left on the chopping block. The third leading lady, the gorgeous Jennifer (Edwige Fenech), is a pornographic model who moves into the apartment where the two previous women were killed. The apartment houses its fair share of suspects, ranging from a babbling old lady, an overly passionate female neighbor and the always lurking architect.
When Jennifer begins getting stalked in the same manner as before, she immediately suspects her husband, who loathes her for leaving his group sex cult. A zealous cop is enlisted to put together the pieces, but like in all gialli, by the end there are too many pieces to count.
The Case of the Bloody Iris
is an entertaining, if overly sleazy, giallo exercise. Although definitely not as good as the two Aldo Lado gialli included in the Anchor Bay box set, it still has its fair share of appeal. The plot remains very simple and the ending seems entirely plausible. The cinematography is nice, especially the continual use of mirrors and different planes of depth. For those that like their gialli a tad on the seedy side, there is a great deal of nudity as well. Edwige Fenech is a truly a sight for sore eyes, and thankfully she bears her bosom to the screen as much as an iris does the sun. The film never takes itself too seriously, and thus goes down as a breezy little giallo.
It could have been more though. The film is mainly bogged down by its expansive narrative structure, which leaves way too many open ends than it ever ties up. Characters and motives are thrown in the film like ingredients in a casserole, and the film ends up spending too much time covering insignificant details, and too little time developing the characters that matter. The film wastes precious time by aping the whole Psycho shock murder two too many times. One time would have been fine enough, considering that Mizar's only purpose is to pad the length of the film with a stretched out topless bar fight.
The editing of the film also languishes as the film runs on, and at times climactic scenes are all but abandoned when they should be reaching their peak. A chase scene near the end in a boiler room in particular ends on a dry note, ending without any explanation or resolution. Bloody Iris
also lacks the class of the other films in the box set, and other than Edwige Fenech's gorgeous body, it has nothing original really worth remembering. It borrows clichés from Psycho
, like killing off the heroine and a crazy mother, and a major set piece from Blood and Black Lace
As the film plays, it is satisfying and even entertaining. When the credits roll however, there is really little left to distinguish it from the other, more substantial gialli like Tenebre
and What Have You Done To Solange?
. The cinematography is good, but nowhere near Argento's flourish; the score has some nice repetitive musical themes, but Morricone it aint; the blood is let willingly, but it is a far way from the memorable death scenes from the films of Lucio Fulci. Everything in this movie is done competently enough, but it just lacks the greatness that might have put it over the top. It's a fun 94 minutes, but in the end it is largely forgettable.
Shot in 2.35:1 widescreen, the look of the film is fairly busy, with plenty of objects and depths throughout. Thankfully, Anchor Bay has blessed the film with a sharp anamorphic transfer that makes even the tiniest of objects crystal clear. The colors are somewhat muted, but that is to be expected from a thirty year old European film. Although the picture is for the most part very clean and very concise, there are times when the actual negative is marred with black blotches of print damage. They are not overly obtrusive, but they are still definitely noticeable. They only pop up a few times in the film though, dampening what is otherwise another uniformly strong Anchor Bay transfer.
The Case of the Bloody Iris is presented in its original mono mix, and it sounds fine. No hissing at all, and everything remains audible. The English dubbing is quite bad though, it is too bad Anchor Bay didn't include the original Italian track as an option. Despite sounding predictably flat, this track is more than acceptable.
This release is the only DVD in the Giallo Collection not to sport an interview. Instead, a short alternate stabbing scene is included, and although it is slight, it is nice that Anchor Bay took the time to include it. The trailer is also included on this release, and doesn't give away all that much about the film, so feel free to give it a look before the film itself. A superfluous filmography for "Anthony Ascott" (actually Giuliano Carnimeo) is included, but one would get much more by checking out his page on the IMDb. Although short on extras, one must remember that this disc is really a bonus in and of itself, seeing as it can only be bought in the Giallo Collection box set.
A good, but not great film, The Case of the Bloody Iris
is hampered by a lack of originality. The video transfer is sharp, with a few intermittent moments of print damage. The audio is just fine, and the short supplements compliment the brisk approach of the film nicely. If you think you will like the Aldo Lado films, Short Night of Glass Dolls
and Who Saw Her Die?
, then don't let this trite title hold you back from getting the box set. It's breezy, sleazy fun. .
Movie - C+
Image Quality - B
Sound - C
Supplements - C+
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English Dolby mono
- Theatrical Trailer
- Alternate stabbing scene
- Anthony Ascott filmography