Monday, May 11, 2015

"The Case of the Bloody Iris" by Bruno Nicolai

Bruno Nicolai's score to Giuliano Carnimeo's 1972 giallo thriller "The Case of the Bloody Iris" is as fun as the film itself. It begins with a theme that contains all the hallmarks of the Italian film scores of the day: heavy, groovy bass and drums, overlaid with a melody played by a harpsichord, with some high strings joining in as things progress.  There's plenty of the classic elements of horror scores as well: dissonant high pitched strings with piano playing tense low notes, and in one of the more original moments, atonal mandolin music. Nicolai is a master composer and film scorer but nothing here is particularly groundbreaking. I like the toughness to the sound of this score. A lot of film scoring of the giallo era has that toughness because of the technology in 1972, just before recording techniques employed a more sanitized approach.

The film stars the knockout Edwige Fenech as an oft-naked young woman who moves into an apartment with another oft-naked young woman immediately after the former occupant (also an oft-naked young woman) is brutally murdered. Don't expect anything to start to make more sense from there on in; the plot is thin, and the solution to the mystery is thoroughly unsatisfying, but none of that matters because we're not watching it for the plot, we're watching it for boobs and gore (in this case thankfully more of the former). "The Case of the Bloody Iris" is completely overdubbed, and like most of the other giallo horror films of the day, that only adds to the unintentional humor; the dialogue is hilarious: "she's black, but not too black"; "we're all human and every man wants a black girl". It also contains probably the best reaction/non-reaction from a character that's being clung to by a girl who's just been stabbed and is covered in blood.

I'd love to see a sub-titled version of some of these movies, even though I wonder whether it would be worth it. It could be that the performances come off a lot more powerfully and that adds to the impact of the film. Or it could be that it's better over-dubbed because that makes it all the more bad-good.

This is a solid giallo film but I would recommend the somewhat similar "Baba Yaga" over this one.

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