Blu-ray Review – Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers – Arrow Video

Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P Miraglia 

What we have here is a two-film set of Giallos from Arrow Video, both directed by Emilio Miraglia and both, technically, giallos. While both have merits in my opinion neither is dominant in this historically important genre. Sure, I am looking at this through the lens of history but in the future that is how all films are judged.

At the height of the Italian giallo boom in the early 1970s, scores of filmmakers turned their hand to crafting their own unique takes on these lurid murder-mystery thrillers.

The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave

Director: Emilio Miraglia

Screenplay: Massimo Felisatti, Fabio Pittorru, and Emilio Miraglia

Minutes: 103

Year: 1971

Score: 5.33

Release: ArrowVideo

From Arrowvideo.com:

In The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, director Emilio P. Miraglia (The Red Queen Kills Seven Times) melds the giallo’s trademark twisty whodunit storytelling with gothic chills, concocting a gripping horror/thriller hybrid. Troubled aristocrat Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen, Django the Bastard), 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…

Populated by an array of Euro cult stars, including Giacomo Rossi Stuart (Caltiki the Immortal Monster) and the unforgettable Erika Blank (Kill, Baby… Kill!), and featuring a lush lounge score by giallo maestro Bruno Nicolai, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave offers up a beguiling, unique and downright insane twist on a familiar formula.

Where do I start. This is not a bad movie but it did not grab my attention, it was fine and had some interesting moments and excels in rope-a-dope plot twists but that can only carry a film so far. It was like a long, nude, episode of Scooby-doo, “If it wasn’t you, then who was it.”

I typically try to find the good hiding behind the rest but I am not sure where I to look. The clear strength is in the costumes and set design, but, to this viewer, this is a staple of strong gialli so a film cannot rest on this alone. I think I have to give it to the Lady of the house, who came into the film in the last act when she said, “There is a lot of groaning.” There is, but is the not love kind, but the pained exasperation.

There are many better giallo films you can hunt down so it is with a heavy heart that I recommend a pass.

Special Features

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth
  • Exclusive introduction by 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 theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Director: 6 – Cinematography: 5 –  Edit: 4 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 6 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 7 – Sound: 4 – Story: 5 – Script: 6 – Effects: 4 – Design: 9 – Costumes: 8 – Keeps interest: 5 – Lasting: 5

Red Queen Kills 7 Times

Director: Emilio Miraglia

Screenplay: Emilio Miraglia, Fabio Pittorru

Minutes: 100

Year: 1972

Score: 5.93

Release: ArrowVideo

From Arrowvideo.com:

In The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, an age-old family curse hits sisters Kitty (Barbara Bouchet, Milano Calibre 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?

Director Emilio P. Miraglia (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave) once again combines a conventional giallo whodunit narrative with supernatural chills, concocting a gripping horror/thriller hybrid which moves effortlessly between the world of high fashion and creepy gothic locales. Co-starring B-movie legend Sybil Danning (Grindhouse, Howling II), The Red Queen Kills Seven Times shows that there’s more to gialli than black-gloved killers!

This two-disc set is held up, barely, but this film. I badly wanted to say how much I loved these films. But I really cannot. Putting these releases on the shelf next to The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, also a recent Arrow release, suck the value out of these films.

These are films that I have read called “technically giallo” and that is an accurate statement. You will be getting the giallo experience of red herrings, great design, nudity, and murder.  If questionable versions of that is your bag, then this is your set.

That said, these cultural artifacts look fantastic. They are packed with special features. The packaging is spectacular. These are great shelf candy, but also dust magnets.

Special Features

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • Exclusive interview with actress 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 and English theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Director: 6 – Cinematography: 7 –  Edit: 5 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 5 – Score: 7 – Sound: 5 – Story: 5 – Script: 6 – Effects: 6 – Design: 9 – Costumes: 8 – Keeps interest: 6 – Lasting: 5

 

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