Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Emilio Miraglia is a remarkably obscure Italian director of the 1970s who enjoyed great success with his first feature, made a few more movies, and then seems to have disappeared. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La Notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba), made in 1971, was promoted art the time as a gothic horror film but is really a giallo with some hints of the supernatural. These supernatural elements serve to make it even more incomprehensible than the average giallo. At this point I have to be honest and admit that this is perhaps my least favourite genre of cult movie, so it’s possible that fans of this type of movie may enjoy this one a lot more than I did. What it does have going for it is that Italian visual flair that saved many a giallo from disaster. Like me, you might not have the remotest idea of what is supposed to be going on, but it all looks impressive.

The plot has something to do with an English lord who is haunted by the death, in childbirth, of his first wife Evelyn. She had apparently been having an affair, and in his frequent hallucinatory states he relives his discovery of the affair and her subsequent death. This drives him (for some obscure) to want to whip and then murder red-headed prostitutes. He then decides to remarry. After that point the plot becomes even more impenetrable, but there are plots involving assorted family members. The acting is on the whole merely adequate, although Erika Blanc is very good as one of the strippers with whom the troubled lord becomes involved. Of course to complain about the plot of an Italian horror movie is to completely miss the point of Italian horror, which was always mainly about the visuals. This movie isn’t as impressive as the best efforts of director like Bava or Argento but it still has enough style to make it worth seeing. The DVD release by a company called NoShame is impressive. It’s packaged with another Emilio Miraglia movie, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. The movie looks superb, there are quite a few extras, and you get a red queen action figure as well. If you do happen to be a giallo fan you’ll certainly want to pick up a copy of the Emilio Miraglia Killer Queen Box Set.

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