Over the past couple of years, indie distributor Arrow Video has been devoting quite a bit of time to the Italian giallo scene. In The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, an age-old family curse hits sisters Kitty (Barbara Bouchet) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti) following the death of their grandfather, Tobias (Rudolf Schundler). Every 100 years, the legend goes, the bloodthirsty Red Queen returns and claims seven fresh victims.
Was Tobias just the first and are Kitty and Franziska next?
Directed by Emilio P. Miraglia, whose The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is also up for an Arrow release, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times weaves together your traditional giallo whodunit narrative with a supernatural horror/thriller hybrid that dances between the worlds with near effortlessness as it also vacillates between the worlds of high fashion and more gothic locales. The film co-stars Sybil Danning, a familiar face to American audiences for her work in such films as Grindhouse and Howling II among many others.
The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is classic giallo with a storyline that feels obvious yet never is obvious. Miraglia's pacing, somewhat of a problem with The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, is sublime here and makes one regret that he would never make another film in the genre and, in fact, made only five films in a six-year period before never being heard from again. The killings here, while modestly familiar, are sublimely created and realized. Alberto Spagnoli's lensing is like a gothic fantasy, while Bruno Nicolai's original score is a highlight among all giallo films. The film features a tremendous performance from Barbara Bouchet as Kitty along with Marina Malfatti and, in one of her earlier appearances, a marvelous Sybil Danning.
The extras here are stellar including:
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• 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
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic