Monday, August 29, 2016

The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972) - Part 2 of 3

This is Part 2 of our discussion of The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972). Part 1 is here. We have witnessed two murders and been introduced to seven suspects. The latest murder was the drowning of the model Mizar in the bathtub. Who will be next?

Mizar’s body is found dead in the bathtub of her apartment. The team investigating the murder scene includes the police commissioner himself, who is far more interested in finding a Jamaican air mail stamp on a letter than in finding evidence. He sees a familiar face poking around the apartment—the elderly woman next door. “Didn’t we see you just yesterday about a murder?” he asks her before he steals another envelope to get the stamp.

Meanwhile, we learn that Andrea the architect has arranged to get Mizar’s apartment for Jennifer and her ditzy friend Marilyn. They’re a little disturbed that their new apartment was a murder scene the previous day, but it’s better than their current apartment, and Andrea will be their first houseguest.

The police commissioner visits Mizar’s nightclub, giving us a look at the beautiful set in the daylight.

 “I never had anything immoral in here,” the club owner says. “I run a clean show.” The commissioner doesn’t buy it: “You’ve got a record as long as both my arms and legs together.” After roughing up the club owner, the commissioner gets the names on his client list.

Jennifer and Marilyn move into their new apartment. Andrea is visiting, and the film masterfully throws our suspicion on the handsome architect. He makes a point of saying this is the first time he’s been in the building, but he knows that Mizar’s body was found in the bathroom—because of the pictures in the newspapers. When Jennifer cuts her finger opening a can, Andrea nearly faints at the sight of blood—he couldn’t possibly be a murderer. When Jennifer hears violin music, Andrea says it must be the retired university professor who lives next door—he knows this because as the building’s architect his office gets constant complaints about all the violin-playing from the 20th floor. After Marilyn plays a tasteless joke by jumping out of the bathtub, Andrea punches her in the jaw. “Murder isn’t a joke for heaven’s sake, you idiot!” Are his excuses and his instability hiding the psyche of a killer?

Later, Jennifer and Marilyn are introduced to another resident of their floor: Sheila, the daughter of the elderly violin-playing professor. Perhaps she is the murderer. After all, she wears a big yellow hat that looks like it might be made of rubber. Sheila looks like someone who would want her hat to match her gloves. Coincidence?

The commissioner confronts Andrea. He doesn’t blame Andrea for being attracted to Mizar, even though Andrea has told the commissioner that he never met her. The commissioner reveals this to be another one of Andrea’s lies; he has the receipt for the dinner Andrea and Mizar shared. “Every man wants a black girl,” the commissioner says. “Sin can be as black as you, and your color has corrupted me.” (Although it sounds like one, this line is unfortunately not the name of another giallo movie.) So the commissioner has now jumped onto our list of suspects.

The commissioner then recaps why Andrea should be worried: “The body of a girl is found in an elevator, and the girl who found the corpse is drowned in the same apartment house, and by a coincidence that seems to me pretty phony, the last person to see that poor girl alive is the architect who so very conveniently has all the plans to the apartment house building where the murders have been taking place!”

Andrea responds with a quiet, “Is that all?”

The commissioner orders his assistant Redi to tail Andrea.

And what about Adam? Jennifer finds a crushed Iris on the sidewalk. When she returns to her apartment, Adam confronts her and nearly rapes her.

The commissioner orders his goofy goofy assistant Renzi to tail Andrea. Redi checks in with the commissioner constantly, describing what they ordered in a restaurant and where they stopped when they walked through the park.


It is unfortunate the police are not following Jennifer, because when she arrives home she is attached by the yellow-gloved killer. He grabs her while she is taking off her shirt, a precursor to the scene in Tenebre's t-shirt murder 10 years later in 1982.

The killer assaults her but she escapes to the apartment next door, where Sheila and her father the professor live. Sheila is clearly attracted to Jennifer, and she convinces Jennifer to return to the apartment to investigate the attack. They find the titular bloody iris on the floor....

...along with a bloody handprint on the closet door. When they open the closet, Adam's body falls out, a knife protruding from his stomach.

This horrific discovery gives the police commissioner another chance to recap the plot: "Your husband was a sadist. He beat you. To have any satisfaction with a man like that, a woman would have to be a masochist, and the fact of the matter is you're not at all like that. Your husband had a mania for group sex which revolted you. He used to poke juice into his brain to cure his headaches and you didn't like that either. He even tried raping you. Hah. From what I can tell, there are plenty of good reasons here for a person to murder an individual like him." But Jennifer has an argument that's impossible to refute. Would she have ripped her own clothes off, killed a man, and left him in the closet? No, the commissioner says. "That theory doesn't hold water. Nobody suspects you." Then he tells Jennifer he wants her to continue living in the apartment as bait for the killer. Of course, the police will keep her under surveillance.

This sounds like a professional plan that will no doubt quickly catch the killer.

What happens next? We'll have to wait for Part 3. So far, we have witnessed the result of a third murder and the addition of a few more suspects. Will there be more murders? The answer is yes [spoiler]. Will we discover the identity of the killer? The answer is yes again [spoiler]. Stay tuned for Part 3.