Emilio Miraglia directed six movies. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave was his fifth. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, released the next year, was his last. I’ve had difficulty finding even cursory information on Miraglia. As of this writing, there is an editor’s note on his brief Wikipedia entry explaining that there’s conflicting information on whether or not he’s alive. This is appropriate because both of these movies are concerned about people who ought to be dead… but there is some doubt.
The movie begins by describing the family curse. Every century, two sisters are born who hate each other so viciously one, the “Red Queen,” inevitably kills the other, “the White Queen.” This century the White Queen is Kitty, the Red Evelyn. No one has heard from Evelyn in ages. But when Kitty and Evelyn’s grandfather dies, people around Kitty start dying. Witnesses say the killer resembles Evelyn, but Kitty knows that can’t be true.
Kitty accidentally killed Evelyn months ago.
Giallo films, with their gruesome on-screen murders, are often called precursors of American slasher movies. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is very much in that vein. Some of the kills are gruesome, some of them are unexpected, and Kitty has a definite “final girl” look about her. Like Slumber Party Massacre, The film does what it says on the wrapping.
Directors tend to make movies similar to each other. Still, Miraglia takes it a bit far since this movie, too, features someone named Evelyn rising from her grave and killing people. There is even a mental institution, and someone on the inside tries to escape over the fence.
In contrast to Evelyn, the convoluted plot always remains under control. Miraglia conserves strutural confusion by casting women who look like each other. Lulù (Sybil Danning), for example, could easily be mistaken for an exhausted Rosemary (Pia Giancarlo). The only reason I knew for sure there were two different characters was that they were in the same room together. I kept having to pause and ask my wife which character was which, but she was rarely any help here. Turns out I wasn’t the only one struggling.
Sadly, there are no adorable foxes in this movie but there are many distracting bats in the cellar. And there are soaking wet rats that someone apparently dyed black; the dye washes off them in clouds.
If I had to choose between the two, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is an objectively better film than The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave. But why not both? Watch them back-to-back to fully appreciate the parallels between the two.
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