The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave (1971)
By: David Michael Brown on October 18, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Big Sky Video (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 101 minutes
The Movie
Director: Emilio Miraglia
Starring: Erika Blanc, Anthony Steffen, Marina Malfatti, Rod Murdock
Screenplay: Massimo Felisatti, Fabio Pittorru, Emilio Miraglia Music: Bruno Nicolai
Tagline: The worms are waiting. Country: Italy
AKA: La Notte che Evelyn uscì Dalla Tomba
Anyone expecting a zombie with a flame haired wig running around with a severed head, as depicted on the DVD sleeve and poster art of The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, will be sorely disappointed. However, those willing to take their time with this languid and sordid little affair will be rewarded with a truly strange and bizarre film that confounds and confuses as often as it shocks and disturbs.

Erika Blanc made quite a name for herself in many a Giallo thriller during the Sixties and Seventies including Mario Bava's wonderful Kill Baby Kill and Jean Brismée's The Devil's Nightmare. Here she plays Susie, an early victim of the psychotic aristocrat Lord Alan Cunningham. Distraught at the loss of his beloved Evelyn and wracked with suspicion that his wife had been having an affair, Cunningham does what every man would do. He hangs out in dingy clubs picking up red haired prostitutes who remind him of his dead spouse so he can take them to his castle and brutally murder them. Slowly losing his mind he tries to sort out his life by getting married and banning red heads from his palatial mansion but this only adds to the confusion. Not knowing who to trust and with redheads mysteriously appearing left right and centre it soon looks as though the demented lord is returning to his murderous ways.

There is a lot of strange goings on in this movie; mild sadism, coffin striptease, death by fox, the lord's truly outrageous Austin Powers style wardrobe. It's all clad in cinematographer Gaston Di Giovanni's beautifully gothic compositions. The film looks marvellous and despite a few pacing issues director Miraglia handles the films more horrific moments well. The usual failings of the genre show their faces; some dreadful over acting, preposterous plotting and a complete lack of reality but then again that's why we love these vintage Italian thrillers.

Bruno Nicolai is second only to his regular collaborator Ennio Morricone as the maestro who scored an entire generation of Italian shockers. The Italian giallo thriller would not have been what it was without the great man's sonic contributions to the likes of All the Colours of the Dark and Sergio Martino's Curse of the Scorpion's Tale and Excite Me. His score for The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave is a surreal mix of orchestra, psychedelic guitar and female choir and sounds wonderful. It is quite bizarre setting the film in England. No one looks English and the policeman in particular look ill at ease in their British "Bobby" outfit. I guess they really wanted you to believe that Cunningham was an English Lord but it even sounds wrong when they start talking about the British pound.
The picture is crystal clear and the razor sharp close ups and shimmering Seventies photography look great. As to be expected to there is a certain amount of print damage but on the whole the transfer adds to the enjoyment of the film. There does, however, seem to be an issue with the aspect ratio that had been brought up by some reviewers, regarding playback on 4:3 televisions, that the film won't be displayed in it's correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It looked fine on my set-up but the disc should be approached with caution until we hear more reports.
The 2.0 audio mix is fine, nothing spectacular to report.
Extra Features
All you get is the trailer and a collection of stills and posters, not bad you think but pitiful when you see the wealth of extras included in the US release of The Emilio Miraglia Killer Queen Box Set. That box includes an introduction by Erica Blanc, interviews with Blanc and production designer Lorenzo Baraldi along with another disc, The Red Queen Kills 7 Times and a sculpted figure of the red queen herself! You can't help but feel a bit short changed.
The Verdict
One of the stranger Giallo thrillers from the Early Seventies, by the time The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave reaches its conclusion everyone has double-crossed everyone else and almost everyone has been stabbed, killed or fed to the foxes. It's a bizarre plotting and impenetrable characters won't be for everyone but if you're willing to descent into the demented Lord's mindset there is much to enjoy.
Movie Score
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