Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times (1972)

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times (La Dama rossa uccide sette volte) is one of the tiny handful of films made in the early 70s by Emilio Miraglia. It’s an interesting hybrid. It’s mostly a giallo, with all the typical giallo ingredients – high fashion photography, expensive cars, glamorous women, and lots of grisly murders. But it adds some gothic horror elements to the mix – a family curse, cobweb-enshrouded crypts, a castle, and decadent aristocrats. The results are even more bizarre than you might expect. This is one very strange movie, and it gets stranger and stranger. The plot is even more incomprehensible than the average giallo plot. It’s something to do with a painting of two sisters, the Black Queen and the Red Queen, and sisterly hatred and revenge repeated at intervals down through the centuries. It’s now 1972, so one of the current generation of sisters works in a fashion house. Her sister Evelyn is dead, or at least she’s supposed to be dead, but the mysterious killer in the red cape looks a lot like her. There’s lot of bed-hopping and drugs and hints of kinky sex and the other excesses of the rich and glamorous, and everyone seems to have a motive for murdering everyone else. The body count rises steadily while the police remain baffled.

The plot is eventually explained, and it’s as convoluted and unlikely as you could hope for. What the movie lacks in coherence it mostly makes up for in style and pace and overall weirdness, and the climax is spectacularly gothic. The DVD release by Noshame (which also includes Miraglia’s earlier The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave) is absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn’t describe either movie as a masterpiece but they’re both off-beat enough to be worth seeing if you’re a fan of eurohorror.

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