Following on from the accomplished, if not a little underwhelming gothic tinged Giallo ‘The Night Evelyn Comes from the Grave’ comes a sequel which promises to be more akin to its Giallo peers and truly delivers.
Indeed, perhaps my opening put ‘Evelyn comes from the grave’ in something of a dim limelight, and I realise the film has many fans but we felt, that despite a strong opening, the pace got bogged down around the half way mark as the plot unravelled and ultimately it just wasn’t that engaging to watch past the 50-minute mark. In stark comparison, the sequel which once again introduces a deceased Evelyn crafts a story well deserved of a place in the collection to anyone who is a fan of Italian cinema of the era.
The story follows a group of models who one by one begin to be picked off by a murderous vixen draped in a crimson cape. As each murder is committed police gradually piece together the description of the assailant who ultimately matches the description of ‘Evelyn’, the estranged sister of one of the models. Has she returned from America to enact revenge? or worse, has she returned from the grave to torment her murderers? or is someone exploiting a dangerous dark secret? In classic Giallo style all becomes clear, but not before the bodies begin to stack up, 6 in fact, with a the big reveal in one hell of a showdown!
One massive praise for this series, and that included its predecessor, must be the quality of the cinematography. The quality and direction of the visuals takes, what is essentially a crime caper, and turns it into a gothic horror. I absolutely loved this element of the first film, and it’s made even better in ‘The Red Queen’ as its dimly lit sets, skilful use of lighting and sets make the film seem in part like a dark fairy tale. This is showcased to be effect in the films tension and explosive finale which takes place in the ruins of a medieval inspired house.
Along with the technical element of the film the plot is nicely paced, with the red herrings, kill sequences and mandatory sleaze spaced out to ensure that there are no excessive periods of dialogue and length expositions (which incidentally was our biggest criticism with the first of the series). Indeed, what made this film so effective in my book is that it indeed manages to tell its tale without a telegraphed ending or without a big exposition explaining a convoluted plot; indeed, this film is somewhat perfect in its conclusion and makes it an all-round winner in my book – hell, there is even a couple of gory set pieces which were no doubt inspired by the shocking sensational murders exhibited in countless of the film contemporaries.
Overall, if you haven’t guessed it already ‘The Red Queen Kills Seven Times’ is a solid winner for me, and with Arrow releasing both films in an exquisite Blu-ray formats there has never been a better time to revisit or discover Emilio P. Miraglia’s entries into the much-loved Italian cinema genre.