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Giallo Madness: The Case of the Bloody Iris

Case of the Bloody Iris. Giallo Madness.

Giallo Madness is a segment on Wicked Horror where we revisit the classic giallo films of yesteryear. We will certainly touch on titles you’ve seen before but maybe we will uncover a few hidden gems for you as well. For this installment, we are setting our sights on the 1971 chiller The Case of the Bloody Iris. 

A madman is killing women in an apartment high rise. He or she has no tolerance for liberated women who are comfortable with their sexuality. The killer sees young, attractive women as amoral and will stop at nothing to ensure that these corrupt dames are sentenced to death for their perceived crimes.

The Case of the Bloody Iris is a film that grows on me more every time I watch it. The first time I viewed it, I enjoyed it but was distracted by some of its more obvious flaws and that prevented me from fully enjoying all it has to offer. Every time I see it, I like it more than the last. The horrendous dubbing and the blatant overacting become more and more endearing with each repeat viewing. And I find that to be the case with a lot of Italian cinema. The aesthetic is so different from American made horror films–in spite of the fact that it has served as constant inspiration to stateside filmmakers–that Italian horror and the giallo can be something of an acquired taste for some horror fans.

Despite the fact that the dubbing is bad and the performances are hammed up, the characters are well scripted and likable. The victims are introduced long before they fall prey to the killer and as such, we develop an attachment to them. They are more than just a contribution to the body count and it’s painful to see them killed off.

One of the other things that sets this film apart from a lot of the other giallo titles to see release in the early seventies is the fact that it has a very satisfying ending. It’s a twisted ride to get there but I always have a smile on my face when I finish watching this film. It benefits greatly from a well-written and twisted script.

The Case of the Bloody Iris spins a twisted web and offers so much misdirection that by the time the killer’s true identity is actually revealed, the viewer is almost expecting another twist. But the identity of the killer and his or her motivations are a perfect fit for the world in which they exist and I am glad the storyline is structured exactly as it is. Naturally, the killer is the last person you would expect and that makes the guessing game that much more enjoyable.

As for sex and gore, there is plenty of both–there is a particularly high occurrence of nudity within the film’s runtime, even by the standards of giallo filmmaking. There are more bare breasts on display than I can count offhand. And the carnage with which each kill is executed is absolutely staggering. The killer makes each victim suffer and the viewer is spared no gory detail in the process.

If you haven’t yet seen The Case of the Bloody Iris, I highly suggest checking this one out. Blue Underground has put out a great transfer of the film and their release also includes the awesome special feature that is an ‘alternate stabbing scene’. Like any slightly obscure title, I would suggest just picking this one up if you are interested. Blue Underground releases have a tendency to fall out-of-print at a  moment’s notice and they wind up commanding a pretty penny via leading online resellers.


Title: The Case of the Bloody Iris
Director(s): Giuliano Carnimeo (as Anthony Ascott)
Writer(s): Ernesto Gastaldi
Stars: Edwige Fenech, George Hilton, Annabella Incontrera
Year: 1972
Studio/ Production Co: Galassia Cinematografica
Language: Italian (Dubbed in English)
Length: 94 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Giallo, Mystery, Thriller

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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