Killer Dames – Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia (Blu-ray/DVD Review)

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Killer Dames – Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Rated: UR/Region AB/Widescreen/1080p/Number of Discs 4
Available from Arrow Video (Limited to 3,000 Copies)

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The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Emilio Miraglia
Starring: Anthony Steffen, Marina Malfatti, Erika Blanc
Rated: UR/2:35

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In The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, troubled aristocrat Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen, Django the B*stard), haunted by the death of his first wife Evelyn, tries to move on by marrying the seductive Gladys (Marina Malfatti, All the Colours of the Dark). Marital bliss is short-lived, however, as various relatives meet untimely and gruesome deaths, prompting speculation that a vengeful Evelyn has risen from the grave…

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In a lot of ways, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is a movie that really beefs up the more haunting and gothic side of horror movies from the 70’s. It is a strange film in about ever sense of the term. We have a dream-like setting with very S & M level things going down amongst other things on-screen. It’s the story of a widowed man who seems to have a thing for redheads in more ways than one. I think that part of the movie is clever and I liked it enough. While he is a very strange man, he isn’t even close to being the only nut in this one, which only works to make the movie even more strange and interesting along the way. All in all, what you get here ends up being a pretty neat little hybrid of the Giallo and Gothic horror. As you could guess, it makes for a very weird mix, but it at least makes for a mix that isn’t as dull as some other Giallo or Gothic films of the time could be. The movie is played very seriously and while some might not appreciate some of it, I think it is a movie with a lot of underrated things like the cinematography. You can’t overlook things like that and if you pay attention I do believe you’ll enjoy that part of it just as much as I did.

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I will admit that it helps to head into this movie with a taste for the artsiest side of cinema. I won’t be as appealing to the masses as the other film in this great set from Arrow, but I’d almost bet that most heading into picking this thing up knows what type of stuff they are heading into. It may also help for you to know that you will also be heading into a great looking transfer that seems to really bring out the Gothic tones of this one in very positive ways. You also get some cool extras including an intro by actress Erika Blanc. I’m a little torn on if you can call her intro a slight bit spoilerific, but you at least get to see her make it clear that she doesn’t look like she did in the movie anymore. I found that amusing, as it is a nice display of playful Italian humor. There is a lot of fun stuff to see on this disc outside the also entertaining movie. So, will this be for everyone? Maybe not, but I do see where a lot of folks could have a lot of fun with it.

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Extras

– New audio commentary by Troy Howarth
– Exclusive introduction by actress Erika Blanc
– New interview with critic Stephen Thrower
– The Night Erika Came Out of the Grave – exclusive interview with Erika Blanc
– The Whip and the Body – archival interview with Erika Blanc
– Still Rising from the Grave – archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi
– Original Italian and US theatrical trailers
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Quality of Transfer: 94%

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The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Emilio Miraglia
Starring: Barbara Bouchet, Ugo Pagliai, Marina Malfatti
Rated: UR/2:35

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An age-old family curse hits sisters Kitty (Barbara Bouchet, Milano Calibro 9) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti) following the death of their grandfather Tobias (Rudolf Schündler, The Exorcist, Suspiria). Every hundred years, so the legend goes, the bloodthirsty Red Queen returns and claims seven fresh victims. Was Tobias just the first… and are Kitty and Franziska next?

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When I think if a Giallo I think of something along the lines of The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. The movie has an onslaught of hot women who are randomly getting killed off one by one by a very mysterious killer. Some of those deaths are pretty clever and violent. Of course, the big thing is trying to guess who the killer is and who it probably isn’t based on the info we learn as the movie rolls along. And to the credit of this one, it is very interesting. We open things up with two sisters fighting over a doll. This childish fight spills over in front of their father and also in front of a very creepy painting that one of the sisters admits makes her crazy. That’s our big opening that suggest some of what we have coming along our way. From there we flash forward, people end up dead, and we learn why it might and not be certain people. Sure, you could say the movie drags its feet just a little in the middle but it is near impossible to find something as twisty and turns as this one is without being interested in what is going on. Sometimes you want to see it just based off how wild and surprising it is. Even if it might not always make the most sense. But that is the world of the Giallo and it is a fun world to be in more times than not.

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This is a movie packed with women who are very easy on the eyes. We have a strong lead, a lot of things that make us point our fingers in different directions, and we even have a memorable killer. Maybe one of the coolest we’ve seen in a Giallo with our “Red Queen”. A character so memorable that it even got a figurine in an old DVD box set. While you get no figures here, you do get a very awesome transfer that makes the movie look down-right amazing. You also get a whole group of extras to keep you busy even long after the credits have rolled on the movie. This is a great set from Arrow Video, but for my money, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, is THE movie of the set and is by far the one I had the most fun watching. I had never seen any movies by director Emilio Miraglia before now, but I am a fan and this movie right here made me a fan. I guess in some ways our “Red Queen” is very Scream-ish long before we ever had a Scream movie. It makes me think that perhaps this was just as much of an influence for films like that as any other 80’s horror film to come along later.

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Extras

– New audio commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman
– Exclusive new interview with Sybil Danning
– New interview with critic Stephen Thrower
– Archival introduction by production/costume designer Lorenzo Baraldi
– Dead à Porter – archival interview with Lorenzo Baraldi
– Rounding Up the Usual Suspects – archival interview with actor Marino Masé
– If I Met Emilio Miraglia Today – archival featurette with Erika Blanc, Lorenzo Baraldi and Marino Masé
– My Favourite… Films – archival interview with actress Barbara Bouchet
– Alternative opening
– Original Italian theatrical trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Quality of Transfer: 96%

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Other Set Extras/Info

– Limited Edition box set (3000 copies) containing The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
– Brand new 2K restorations of the films from the original camera negatives
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray Discs)
– Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
– Limited Edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by James Blackford, Kat Ellinger, Leonard Jacobs and Rachael Nisbet