The Case of the Bloody Iris 4K Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Celluloid Dreams

Directed by Giuliano Carnimeo (credited as Anthony Ascott)
Written by Ernesto Gastaldi
1972, 95 minutes, Not Rated
Released on June 25th, 2024

Starring:
Edwige Fenech as Jennifer Lansbury
George Hilton as Andrea Antinori
Paola Quattrini as Marilyn Ricci
Giampiero Albertini as Commissioner Ensi
Anabella Incontrera as Sheila Heindricks
Jorge Rigaud as Professor Isaacs
Ben Carra as Adam

Review:

Photo models Jennifer and Marilyn score an excellent apartment in a swanky high rise they could normally never afford. The catch: two women were murdered in the building, including their friend Mizar – in the same apartment! Jennifer is being watched by an unidentified killer in a black mask and gloves, intent on doing more than just watching. There is no shortage of suspects, including Jennifer’s crazy ex-husband, her spinster neighbor, the fashion photographer, the lesbian down the hall and even her own boyfriend. Can Jennifer keep her wits as the killer draws closer and the body count grows?

The Case of the Bloody Iris (aka Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer? aka What are the Strange Drops of Blood on the Body of Jennifer?) is a classic 1972 giallo from director Giuliano Carnimeo (Exterminators of the Year 3000) (credited as Anthony Ascott) and writer Ernesto Gastaldi (Torso). Many of the genre’s familiar tropes are in place, including a gloved and masked killer dressed in black, beautiful women in peril, ineffectual police and creative murder set-pieces. The picture also benefits from the gorgeous cinematography of Stelvio Massi (A Place in Hell), whose creative lighting and camera work set the tone right away. The script is a straightforward whodunit with plenty of suspects, and our heroine is forced to discover the answers on her own.

The lovely Edwige Fenech (Strip Nude for your Killer) stars as Jennifer Lansbury, the targeted model with poor taste in companions. With her measured vulnerability and resourcefulness, she carries the picture with ease. George Hilton (The Case of the Scorpion’s Tale) co-stars as Jennifer’s boyfriend/chief suspect, Andrea Antinori. He’s quick to lease her dead friend’s apartment to her and has a habit of turning up at the wrong time, but it could be a coincidence. Ben Carra (Dead Men Ride) appears in the supporting role of Adam, Jennifer’s cult leader ex-husband. Paola Quattrini (Attack of the Moors) plays bestie roommate Marilyn, and Anabella Incontrera (Black Belly of the Tarantula) is Sheila Heindricks, a neighbor who wants more than friendship. Jorge Rigaud (Horror Express) plays Sheila’s father, Professor Isaacs, a man who loves playing classical music at all hours. Giampiero Albertini (The Tough Ones) made a career of playing police detectives and does so again here as Commissioner Ensi. Special mention should be given to Carla Brait (Escape from the Bronx) who plays the model friend who meets an early end. She has limited screen time but gives such a solid performance that she is not soon forgotten.

The Case of the Bloody Iris is a solid entry in the giallo genre that has garnered a dedicated fan base over the past fifty years. With its stylish cinematography, clever twists and surprising murders, the picture checks a lot of boxes. Not as violent or over-the-top as the giallos of Mario Bava or Dario Argento, this title holds its own through strong performances and excellent direction. The film has remained somewhat elusive, receiving an adequate DVD release in the early 2000s and an impressive Region B UK Blu-ray in 2018 from Shameless. Stepping up to the plate for the movie’s domestic debut is newcomer Celluloid Dreams, who knocks it out of the park with its stunning new 4K UHD release. The company makes a strong first impression that signals a new outlet for gialli on par with Severin and Synapse Films, and I look forward to future releases.

Video and Audio:

Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the original camera negative has been scanned in 4K and receives a full restoration with HDR-10 yielding absolutely gorgeous results. Picture quality is at an all-time high with many small-object details clearly visible for the first time. Colors frequently pop while black levels are rock solid. There is a fine layer of film grain and flesh tones appear natural throughout.

A pair of DTS-HD MA 1.0 English and Italian mono tracks are equally impressive, with the native Italian winning out, as some of the English dubbing is off-putting. In English, the character of Arthur is given a stereotypical gay persona absent in the original language that undercuts the possibility of him being a suspect. Music cues and sound effects are well-balanced and dialogue is always clear and understandable.

Optional English subtitles are included for both the English and Italian language tracks, but note that the subtitles differ between versions based on the translation.

Special Features:

Guido Henkel’s well-researched audio commentary opens with comparisons to the elevator murder in Dressed to Kill, followed by insights on this movie’s director and screenwriter. He goes on to discuss the primary cast, the production design and location shooting, as well as providing an overview of the giallo subgenre. Henkel repeatedly encourages viewers to watch the film in its original Italian language and his enthusiasm for this picture is infectious.

The featurette Drops of Giallo (2024, 29 minutes) catches up with writer Ernesto Gastaldi and director Giuliano Carnimeo, with the former dominating the interview. The director discusses his early career leading up to this film while the writer talks about the drive for fresh ideas. Both have a lot to say about this production and remember the project fondly. This interview is in Italian with English subtitles.

Actor George Hilton appears in the interview segment Flowers of Blood (2018, 21 minutes), conducted in Italian with English subtitles. He speaks highly of his co-star Fenech and their enduring friendship and numerous projects together. Other topics include stories of the cast and crew, his thoughts on his character and the film’s ending.

Paola Quattrini is the subject of the interview segment Marilyn (2018,12 minutes) in which she reflects on memorable scenes from the film, particularly the bathtub scene. She has fantastic things to say about Fenech and the body paint sequence. She goes on to talk about shooting on the streets of Genoa and her affection for the city. This interview is in Italian with English subtitles.

An Outtake Reel (2 minutes) of various film trims is set to music as there is no production audio.

A still gallery (22 images) contains behind-the-scenes photos, lobby cards, promotional stills and international poster art.

A pair of trailers in English and Italian are also included.

Orders placed directly through the Celluloid Dreams website will include an exclusive slipcover, a mouse pad featuring beautiful poster artwork and six 12" x 8.5" lobby card reproductions.

Grades:

Movie: Cover
Video:
Audio:
Features:
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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