What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood Doing on Jennifer's Body?
One of the great unsung heroes of Italian gialli is screenwriter and novelist Ernesto Gastaldi. His contribution to the cycle is inestimable and his influence all pervasive. There is an argument to suggest that Gastaldi holds greater prominence than either Mario Bava or Dario Argento. The former created a visual and stylistic template from which all other gialli sprang and the latter made it a commercial proposition with the legs to succeed in other territories. But Gastaldi continued to develop and refine the thematic landscape of the form in numerous productions. His highlights as a screenwriter include So Sweet…So Perverse (1969), Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970), The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971), Death Walks on High Heels (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Torso (1973), and The Scorpion with Two Tails (1982). This is just a fraction of his gialli output and indicates that without a doubt he was the author who returned most persistently to the cycle. He also wrote the film under discussion here The Case of the Bloody Iris and whilst it sets itself up to be not taken wholly seriously I can’t think of a better example that sums up the kitsch and camp appeal of the form. The humour is decidedly oddball, and the mysterious elements of the plot less than engaging, but the gallery of grotesque and eccentric characters that Gastaldi creates makes this a delightful way to pass an evening.
Evi Farinelli as the first victim
Miss Edwige Fenech as the English photo model Jennifer Lansbury
Edwige Fenech and Paola Quattrini who plays her best friend Marilyn Ricci
© Shaun Anderson 2011