Sunday, January 22, 2023

Killer Dames - Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia: Limited Edition – Arrow Video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1971 (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), Italy, 1972 (The Red Queen Kills 7 Times)
Director: Emilio Miraglia (Both Films)
Cast: Anthony Steffen, Marina Malfatti, Erika Blanc, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), Barbara Bouchet, Ugo Pagliai, Marina Malfatti, Marino Masé, Sybil Danning (The Red Queen Kills 7 Times)

Release Date: May 30th, 2016 (UK) / May 24th, 2016 (USA)
Approximate running times: 102 Minutes 48 Seconds (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), 99 Minutes 15 Seconds (The Red Queen Kills 7 Times)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Films)
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: English, English SDH (Both Films)
Region Coding: Region A,B/Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: OOP

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..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times: "An age-old family curse hits sisters Kitty (Barbara Bouchet, Milano Calibro 9) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti, All the Colours of the Dark) 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?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5 (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), 4.25/5 (The Red Queen Kills 7 Times)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfers, “The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba) and The Red Queen Kills 7 Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte) have been exclusively restored in 2K resolution for this release by Arrow Films and are presented in their original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with mono 1.0 sound.

All work on these new restorations was carried out at L’Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna. The original 35mm 2-perf Techniscope camera negatives were scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered Arriscan and were graded on Digital Vision’s Nucoda Film Master.

Thousands of instances of dirt, debris and light scratches were removed through a combination of digital restoration tools. Overall image stability and instances of density fluctuation were also improved.”

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 37.2 GB

Feature: 26.5 GB

The source used for this transfer is in great shape, and any source-related debris has been cleaned up. Flesh tones look correct, colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and compression are solid, grain remains intact, and though black levels fare well, there are a few moments where they are not as strong as they should be.

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 39.4 GB

Feature: 25.1 GB

The source used for this transfer is in great shape, and any source-related debris has been cleaned up. Flesh tones look correct; colors, image clarity, and compression are solid; black levels are strong; and grain remains intact.

Audio: 4.25/5 (DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English - The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono English - The Red Queen Kills 7 Times)

Both films come with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. All audio tracks sound clean, clear, and balanced. Range-wise, ambient sounds are well-represented, and the score sounds appropriately robust. That said, The Red Queen Kills 7 Times' Italian language track sounds more robust than its English language track. Included for both films are removable English subtitles for the Italian language track and removable English SDH subtitles for the English language track.

Extras:

Extras for The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave include reversible cover art, English language theatrical trailer (2 minutes 44 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), Italian language theatrical trailer (2 minutes 44 seconds, LPCM mono Italian with removable English subtitles), an archival introduction by actress Erika Blanc (37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an archival interview with Erika Blanc titled The Whip and the Body (20 minutes 57 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi titled Still Rising from the Grave (22 minutes 49 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with Erika Blanc titled The Night Erika Came Out of the Grave (9 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with Nightmare USA author Steven Thrower titled Remembering Evelyn (15 minutes 12 second, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and an audio commentary with author/film critic Troy Howarth.

Extras for The Red Queen Kills 7 Times include reversible cover art, English language theatrical trailer (3 minutes 13 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), Italian language theatrical trailer (3 minutes 13 seconds, LPCM mono Italian with removable English subtitles), alternate ‘Countdown’ opening (39 seconds, no sound), an archival introduction with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi (38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with Baraldi titled Dead a Porter (13 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Marino Masé titled Round up the Usual Suspects (18 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), archival featurette with Erika Blanc, Lorenzo Baraldi and Marino Masé titled If I met Emilio Miraglia Today (4 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an archival interview with actress Barbara Bouchet My Favorite… Films (59 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles). an interview with actress Sybil Danning titled Life of Lulu (19 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Nightmare USA author Steven Thrower titled The Red Reign (13 minutes 48 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and an audio commentary with film critics/authors Alan Jones and Kim Newman.

Other extras include a sixty-page booklet with cast & crew information for both films, an essay titled Grave Pleasures: Revisiting The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave written by James Blackford, an essay titled The Night Evelyn Came Back As Queen written by Kat Ellinger, an essay titled Style And Emilio Miraglia written by Rachael Nisbet, an essay titled Genre Hopping In The Italian Giallo written by Leonard Jacobs, and information about the restorations.

Included with this release are DVDs for each film that have the same content as the Blu-ray included as part of this combo release.

Summary:

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave: Though Emilio Miraglia's directing output is limited to only six films, his two forays into the giallo genre are widely regarded as classics of this genre. With his first giallo, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, he laid out a foundation that he would continue with his second, The Red Queen Kills 7 Times. though both of his gialli would include many of the elements associated with the genre. Both films would also incorporate supernatural elements that are associated with Gothic horror cinema.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, like most Italian genre films made in the 1970s, features a cast of European cinema's who's who at the time. Anthony Steffen (Django the Bastard) leads the cast as Lord Alan Cunningham. Though he delivers a performance that suits his character's fractured state of mind, he is an actor whose range is limited, and once again he delivers a one-dimensional performance that's best described as wooden.

The two female leads play a large role in the story at hand. Marina Malfatti (All the Colors of the Dark) in the role of Gladys, Lord Cunningham’s second wife, and Erika Blanc (The Third Eye) in the role of a stripper named Susie Erika Blanc has the most memorable scene; her character comes out of a coffin and performs a stripping routine. Another notable cast member is Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (Kill, Baby, Kill!) in the role of Dr. Richard Timberlane.

From a production standpoint, there is not an area where The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is lacking. The premise is well-executed, the narrative does a good job building momentum, and a twist ending provides a perfect coda. Another strength is how well the killer's motive and identity are hidden until the moment of truth arrives.

When discussing The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, one must not overlook Lorenzo Baraldi's production design and art direction, which add an incredible amount of atmosphere. Also, composer Bruno Nicolai delivers an ominous score that reinforces the mood. His score features a musical cue that he originally used for his Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey into Perversion score. Ultimately, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is an efficient thriller that is overflowing with style and has an ample amount of carnage and flesh on display.

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times: Emilio Miraglia’s second foray into the giallo genre and what would also become his final film as a director With The Red Queen Kills 7 Times, he would follow the blueprint he established with The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave. His direction is solid; there are an ample amount of stylish moments, and when it comes to kill scenes, he delivers in spades.

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times cast is led by the stunningly beautiful Barbara Bouchet (Amuck), who delivers one of her best performances. Her character, Kitty Wildenbrück, is a fashion photographer who is being blackmailed by a man who claims to know her secret and terrorized by a specter from her past. The scene where her character is raped by her blackmailer is one of the most gut-wrenching moments in any giallo.

Other notable cast members include Marina Malfatti (The Fourth Victim) in the role of Franziska Wildenbrück, Kitty’s sister, and Sybil Danning (Eye in the Labyrinth) in the role of fashion model Lulu Palm. Both of these characters are essentially secondary roles, and both actresses make the most of their screen time.

From a production standpoint, there is not an area where The Red Queen Kills 7 Times does not excel. The premise is superbly realized, the narrative is filled with an ample amount of twists and turns, and an excellent finale provides a perfect conclusion. When it comes to the killer scenes, they are sufficiently bloody and, at times, sadistic. Also, there is an ample amount of nudity.

Other strengths include Lorenzo Baraldi’s production design and composer Bruno Nicolai's amazing score that hits all the right notes. If the fashion backdrop gives you a feeling of deja vu, it is a familiar setting within the Giallo genre, notably a film like Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace. Ultimately, The Red Queen Kills 7 Times is a perfect balance of melodrama and carnage that stands as Emilio Miraglia’s masterpiece.

Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia is another solid release from Arrow Video that comes with strong audio/video presentations and an abundance of informative extras. It is highly recommended.

Note: The limited-edition release is OOP. Arrow Video has since released standard versions of The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills 7 Times that drop the sixty-page booklet.


















Written by Michael Den Boer

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