The Case of the Bloody Iris (Italian: Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer?, lit. "Why those strange drops of blood on Jennifer's body?", originally released in the UK as Erotic Blue) is a 1972 Italian giallo film directed by Giuliano Carnimeo, identified in the credits as Anthony Ascott. The film was referred to as "never boring" and "a competent thriller which offers enough violence and sex to satisfy the most ardent giallo fan".
|The Case of the Bloody Iris|
|Directed by||Anthony Ascott|
|Screenplay by||Ernesto Gastaldi|
|Produced by||Luciano Martino|
|Edited by||Eugenio Alabiso|
|Music by||Bruno Nicolai|
In 2015, a novelization of the film by Michael R. Hudson was published in the United States by Raven Head Press as part of a series of adaptations of several of Gastaldi's scripts, including The Horrible Dr. Hichcock and My Name is Nobody.
A prostitute, Luna, is buzzed into the high-rise apartment building of a potential client. She is stabbed to death in the elevator by a masked killer who vanishes before it reaches the top floor, where the tenants (violinist Professor Issacs, widow Mrs. Moss, and casino stripper Mizar Harrington) discover the body. The police are called as Mizar leaves for her shift at the casino.
Meanwhile, the building’s architect Andrea Antinori hires a photographer, Arthur, to find models for advertisements. He becomes enthralled with Jennifer Langsbury, who is posing with her friend Marilyn Ricci. On her way out of the studio, Jennifer is accosted by Adam, the leader of a sex cult named “Iris” she was a part of before escaping into modeling. He sternly warns her if she doesn’t come back to him, there will be consequences.
Mizar returns to her apartment after her shift, where she is attacked and drowned in the bathtub by the killer. In the morning, the concierge discovers the body and police commissioners Enci and Renzi investigate the murder. Mrs. Moss is interviewed as a witness. At the crime scene, a love letter is found.
To entice them to star in his advertisements, Andrea sublets Mizar’s now-vacant apartment to Jennifer and Marilyn. He joins them for dinner that night and is disturbed by the sight of Jennifer cutting her finger, revealing his hemophobia. On his way out of the building, Andrea is confronted by Adam, who tells him Jennifer can’t belong to anyone else.
In the early hours of the morning, the killer enters the apartment by the balcony and wraps their hands around Jennifer’s throat, but flees when she screams. Marilyn thinks she imagined the encounter. The next morning at the drugstore, they meet their neighbor Sheila Hendricks, who lives with Professor Issacs, her father.
Andrea is interviewed by the police as a potential suspect. Enci orders Renzi to keep watch on him. Jennifer finds a crushed iris near her door and enters the apartment, where Adam attacks her. She manages to escape and call Andrea. The two go out to eat and take a walk in a park, being followed by Renzi.
Jennifer returns to the apartment that night to find the killer waiting, who attempts to kiss her. She hits them with a lamp and runs to Sheila’s apartment for help. When they go back together, the killer is gone. Marilyn arrives and finds a blood-soaked iris on the floor before opening a closet and discovering Adam’s body, stabbed to death. Jennifer tells Enci and Renzi about the cult and they assure her she will not be charged in Adam’s death, blaming the murder on the masked killer. That night, she thinks she hears Mrs. Moss talking to a man in the apartment next door, but Marilyn thinks she is imagining it. A handwriting sample test comes back on the love letter, revealing it to have been sent by Sheila. Enci interviews her, and she comes out as a lesbian.
Andrea invites Jennifer to his house, where he proclaims his love for her and the two have sex. The next day, Marilyn is stabbed in a crowd outside the high-rise by the killer. She manages to grab Andrea, who was waiting for a taxi nearby, before collapsing and dying. Frightened by the blood, he flees the scene and is chased by Renzi, but manages to evade capture. Despite Enci’s suspicions, Jennifer is sure he is innocent of the murders.
She returns to the building and hears Mrs. Moss talking with the male voice again. She breaks into the neighboring apartment and is attacked by Mrs. Moss' son David, who is deformed. Mrs. Moss returns and yells at her before kicking her out. Jennifer calls the police, but Mrs. Moss has hidden David when they arrive and claims she lives alone.
Jennifer receives a call from Andrea, who asks her to meet him in a junkyard outside of town. She goes there, but Andrea is scared off by Renzi, who followed her. Jennifer goes back to the apartment, runs into Sheila, and the two board the elevator together. However, it goes down to the basement by itself. They exit and explore the room before Sheila is burned to death by a jet of hot steam from a boiler sabotaged by the killer.
Jennifer hides as someone stalks her through the basement. Andrea reveals himself and claims his innocence, but she doesn’t believe his words. The police arrive and chase him, but he escapes. Meanwhile, Mrs. Moss finds David missing from his room. Professor Issacs is distraught over his daughter’s death and plays the violin in mourning.
Jennifer decides to leave the apartment once and for all. While packing her bags, she is attacked by the killer again. She goes to Professor Issacs for help, only to find David’s dead body in a chair. The killer unlocks the door and takes off his mask, revealing himself as the Professor. Unable to cope with his daughter’s lesbianism, he blamed her sexuality on the other women in the building and murdered them for revenge, with assistance from David, who was under the mask in all the non-lethal appearances of the killer.
Professor Issacs accidentally killed his daughter with the steam, thinking he was aiming at Jennifer. He chloroforms her and throws David’s body down the open stairwell before preparing to do the same to her. Andrea exits the elevator and attacks, managing to overpower the Professor and throw him down the stairwell to his death. Him and Jennifer share a passionate hug, happy the ordeal is over.
- Edwige Fenech as Jennifer Langsbury
- George Hilton as Andrea Antinori
- Paola Quattrini as Marilyn Ricci
- Annabella Incontrera as Sheila Heindricks
- George Rigaud as Professor Isaacs
- Giampiero Albertini as Commissioner Enci
- Franco Agostini as Assistant Commissioner Renzi
- Oreste Lionello as Arthur, the photographer
- Ben Carrá as Adam
- Carla Brait as Mizar Harrington
- Luciano Pigozzi as Fanelli, the casino owner (uncredited)
- Maria Tedeschi as Mrs. Moss (uncredited)
- Evi Farinelli as Luna (uncredited)
Analysis and themesEdit
Throughout the movie there is an underlying tone of sexual identity, the main protagonist of Jennifer is pursued by her sinister ex-husband Adam, a cult leader who demands absolute loyalty to him and believes Jennifer is simply part of the cult and refuses to respect her individual identity. Furthermore, the main antagonist Professor Isaacs is insanely jealous of his daughter Sheila's relationships with other women and believes that women have "corrupted" his daughter.
- "Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer? (1972)". Archivio del Cinema Italiano On-Line.
- Richard Armstrong; Tom Charity; Lloyd Hughes; Jessica Winter (27 September 2007). The Rough Guide to Film. Rough Guides, 2007. ISBN 978-1843534082.
- Peter Bondanella (12 October 2009). A History of Italian Cinema. Continuum, 2009. ISBN 978-1441160690.
- Mike Long (June 25, 2002). "The Giallo Collection". DVD Talk. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- Curti 2017, p. 189.