Directed by Giuliano Carnimeo [Other horror films: Quella villa in fondo al parco (1988)]
Commonly known under the title The Case of the Bloody Iris, and perhaps sometimes known as What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood Doing on Jennifer’s Body?, this giallo is a great example of why I love the subgenre. There’s a fun story here with a lot of suspects and decent kills, and so Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer? is a giallo done right.
It’s the mystery of the story that always drew me to gialli. I love slashers in which there are multiple reasonable suspects for who the killer is, but of course, not all slashers have that bent (such as The Slumber Party Massacre, Halloween, and Final Exam). Gialli, though, pretty much has to possess that element, and while it’s not always done well, when a giallo has all the pieces come together, it’s a damn good time.
Here, for instance, there’s no dearth of potential killers. When a young woman moves into an apartment building and multiple people around her start getting killed, sure, it could be the possibly gay photographer (Oreste Lionello), or maybe the mysterious man living in the nearby apartment, or the architect of the building (George Hilton) or the old professor (George Rigaud), or perhaps his lesbian daughter (Annabella Incontrera)? Oh, and let’s not forget the main character’s husband (Ben Carra), who is obsessed with getting her back.
The Case of the Bloody Iris has a pretty good mystery, and I was going back-and-forth on who I thought the killer might be (one of my guesses, though, was indeed correct), and when there’s not a clear-cut answer, I just love it. Come the finale, everything is pieced together nicely, red herrings are dealt with in reasonable and realistic manners, and everything just works.
Plenty of the performances here were great. There’s the lead, Edwige Fenech (from many Italian classics, such as Five Dolls for An August Moon, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, and Strip Nude for Your Killer), who did a very good job playing a character who feels as though she’s in constant danger. George Hilton (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark, and The Killer Must Kill Again) didn’t have a ton of personality, but made for a good suspect.
I loved Giampiero Albertini as the police commissioner, and his stamp-collecting antics, not to mention his conversations with subordinate Franco Agostini were of good quality. Paola Quattrini played a hilarious roommate of Fenech’s, and all her scenes were golden. Annabella Incontrera (So Sweet, So Dead and The Crimes of the Black Cat) was amusing as an overly seductive lesbian neighbor, and like Quattrini’s character, I enjoyed her everytime she was on screen. Ben Carra, Carla Brait (Torso), George Rigaud (Horror Express and Love Brides of the Blood Mummy), Maria Tedeschi, and Oreste Lionello (4 Flies on Grey Velvet) all gave the film some good extra flavor.
There are only a few what I’d call stand-out kills, and one of them was pretty mild, being a steam pipe being turned on as someone was walking by, and this caused some awful burn damage (and death). One of the better kills, though, was a quick stab to the stomach in broad daylight, and also in a crowd. Just filmed in a quality manner (with the killer’s POV), and I dug it.
I also dug the simple design of the killer, the typical black-masked look, complete with a hat, trench coat, and gloves. Even when the killer just popped up in the main character’s apartment without harming her, it was pretty creepy, so kudos there.
Admittedly, it did take The Case of the Bloody Iris about 15 minutes to really start making an impact, but once it did, and I felt more engagement, I found this giallo quite a rewarding experience, and would definitely recommend it, especially for that killer finale. #LovedIt.