By my own confession giallo films are probably where I lack the most expertise, in fact most of the time co-writer G handles most giallo entries as he has a greater understanding of the genre – that being said I do still feel I could distinguish between a good and bad entry.
The films opener sees our male lead Alan attempting an escape from an insane asylum – Lord Alan Cunningham had previously been sanctioned, plagued by the death of his wife Evelyn. With his freedom intact he retreats to his decrepit mansion situated in the countryside. Lord Alan has a fairly extreme way of dealing with his grief and that’s to frequent the local bars and strip clubs, find women that resemble his beloved Evelyn and lure them back to the mansion where he presents them to the mansions very own dungeon fully equipped with whips and chains. The women are sexy and voluptuous and often more than willing to unveil their bodies but this isn’t about lust, Lord Alan just wants to spill blood.
Alan’s cousin Farley (also the only living heir) encourages him to settle down in the hope that it will help with his sanity – Alan moves to London to get away from the run-down mansion where he marries Gladys. The pair move in to a new home and are joined by Evelyn’s brother and Alan’s disabled aunt whom are taken on as staff. Alan’s mental state starts to deteriorate when Gladys experiences strange goings on and he is pushed over the edge when two family members are killed. Alan is once again institutionalized and the plot reveals itself.
The initial setting which takes place in Alan’s mansion is fantastic and gives off a real dark gothic feel, helped along nicely by Alan’s very own dungeon equipped to the nines in a plethora of torture devices although disappointingly never utilized properly!
One of the reasons why this particular film doesn’t score any higher is the pace, the film starts off fairly strong including a string of deaths and an intriguing story line, swiftly followed by what feels like an eternity before anything of any substance happens again, there’s a good possibility you’ll be checking to see how long you’ve been watching and I can guarantee it won’t be as long as hoped…….this is a slow burner!
The plot does struggle in the middle mark in terms of its giallo roots and adding a ‘thriller’ element, for the most part its merely a ‘who’s done it’ scenario which is fairly obvious from early on, there is a nice plot twist at the end which does redeem some of the slow pace and ends on a fairly interesting note. I thought the transition that Alan takes from effectively being a killer to a helpless victim is really quite clever – it’s impressive how quickly you sympathize with Lord Alan even knowing his sordid past.
Overall ‘The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave’ is a comprehensive giallo film but unfortunately with its slower pace will not stand out from the crowd, if in the mood for a giallo film I can certainly recommend it as its well put together and its gothic first half do set the film up well – naturally there’s plenty of eye-candy on offer and a handful of interesting deaths that in the end do give the film more substance.