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Killer Dames – Arrow Video Blu-ray Review

killer-dames-boxset

Arrow Video is making my life hard. They keep releasing these loaded boxsets and I spend hours scouring through the features and the movies, just to give my useless opinion on something that is clearly going to be a winner for the fans. Killer Dames is a loaded box set featuring two movies: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, plus it’s got a ton of special features and a wonderfully massive booklet to read. Fans of Italian Gothic Giallos are going to be in heaven with this release. As for yours truly, I was a bit disappointed with one of the movies, but the other flick made up for it with a stellar murder mystery. If you’re interested in seeing what the set includes and which movie I liked, read on…

Product Information

DISCS: 4 (2 Blu-ray, 2 DVD)
RUN-TIME:
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (103 minutes)
The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (99 minutes)
ASPECT RATIO:
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (2.35:1)
The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (2.35:1)
RESOLUTION: 1080p
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
LANGUAGE: English, Italian
SUBTITLES: English
REGION: A/B
RATING: NR
PRODUCTION DATE: 1971, 1972
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2016

Plot Summary

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. This limited edition double pack features two distinctive offerings by Emilio P. Miraglia, which meld twisty whodunit narratives with gothic chills. 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… Meanwhile, in The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, 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? With both films making their worldwide Blu-ray debuts in stunning new 2K restorations, there has never been a better time to explore these little-seen

Meanwhile, in The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, 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? With both films making their worldwide Blu-ray debuts in stunning new 2K restorations, there has never been a better time to explore these little-seen giallo gems!

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave

The first movie to crack into is The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave. It’s a bit of a slow burn Italian Giallo, mixed with a healthy dose of gothic themes. It tells the story of Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen), a man who has an unhealthy fetish for beating up hot redheads. Why he does this is a because his recently deceased redheaded wife was cheating on him and he caught her in the act. This naughty act pushes him over the edge and now he is off his rocker. Because he is a rich dude, everyone wants a piece of the money pie and they begin scheming, backstabbing and double crossing. Throw in some supernatural bits here and there and you got yourself The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave.

The biggest issue I had with The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave was the fact that it took a long time to get to the good stuff. Eventually, when stuff starts happening, the ending cliche freeze frame rolls around and the movie is over. The movie does have a few mysterious deaths going for it and a twist here and there for sure, but it’s the boring (to me anyway) trip that makes it hard to recommend the flick. I did enjoy the ample supply of nudity thrown at me, which is always a big plus in my dirty book, but I just wish there was more going on with the plot. The atmosphere is definitely there, with a stellar Castle set piece that screams gothic horror, but even that isn’t utilized properly. In the end, the movie lands on a flat note.

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

the-red-queen-kills

To make up for the disappointment I had with The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, the next flick in the box set is the stellar The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. This time around, the film is definitely more giallo, with a gloved mysterious murderer on the loose, dispatching people in bloody ways. Plus, Sybil Danning bares it all, which manages to get the heart racing even faster.

The plot for The Red Queen Kills Seven Times goes a little something like this: The legend goes that two rivaling sisters, known as the Red Queen and the Black Queen, will end up in a deadly game that results in the Black Queen killing the Red Queen. However, the Red Queen will rise from the grave to kill six innocent people, with the seventh person being the Black Queen. This curse has run in the Wildenbrück family for centuries with Kitty and Evelyn being the next set of siblings that the curse will happen too. We jump ahead years to see that a mysterious lady in red is offing people connected to Kitty and she thinks it could be her sister doing the killing, but how can it be when Evelyn is in fact already dead! Is tonight the night Evelyn comes out of the grave? (Oops, wrong movie.)

Okay, that’s a pretty half-assed plot breakdown, but I don’t want to spoil the fun of figuring out the movie for yourselves. It’s certainly a trip to see everything unfold, even if come the end, half of it doesn’t make sense – a problem with a lot of giallo films.

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times was my favourite, mainly due to the more effective giallo story and a nice helping of gore and nudity. It certainly kept me intrigued to the very end, making me stick with it to figure out who the killer was. Plus, Sybil Danning…damnnnnn!

Blu-ray Opinion

Wow is all I can say when talking about the Blu-ray Box-set from Arrow Video. The Killer Dames collection comes in a hard case box, with a massive and highly informative booklet. Each movie comes on its own disc, with a separate case and reversible sleeve. The video for both films is the usual Arrow Video quality, which means damn impressive. The reds in The Red Queen Kills Seven Times pop and dark scenes in The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave are perfectly black. Honestly, a superb job on the video. As for the audio, you have two options: Italian and English. Both choices give you some laughable dubbing, so it’s hard to say which is the best version to listen to. I did go back and forth with the audio and both of them sounded great.

The special features for The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave features interviews with Arrow fan favorite Stephen Thrower, who is always a delight to listen to. There is also an interview with Erika Blanc. Thrown on top of the wonderful interviews is some more archival interviews with the production designer Lorenzo Baraldi and another old interview with Erika Blanc. There is a lot to go through and it’s all fantastic.

The special features for The Red Queen Kills Seven Times also feature some informative interviews, with my favourite being the one with Sybil Danning. Like the previous disc, there is also lots of archival interviews to go through. Lots and lots of goodies to digest.

Special Features

• 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

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE

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

THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES

• New audio commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman
• Exclusive new interview with actress Sybil Danning
• Writer Stephen Thrower on The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
• 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 Favorite… Films – archival interview with actress Barbara Bouchet
• Alternative opening
• Original Italian theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Verdict

Killer Dames features one okay movie and one awesome movie. Of course, this is going to be different for everybody. However, the good thing about the box set is the awesome special features for both movies. This allows everyone to get something worthwhile when plunking down the cash. My verdict? Killer Dames from Arrow Video is definitely the gothic-giallo you’ve been craving.


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mtatlock

I've been watching horror movies since I was three. In hindsight, it probably wasn't a good idea.

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