The Curator of Schlock #368 by Jeff Shuster
The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
Because eight times would be gauche.
I made it through the Canadian border. I had to tie Edwige, my kangaroo companion, up in a potato sack so as to avoid the peeping eyes of the authorities. Edwige was none too pleased, but I bought her a box of Smarties so we’re good. Now, which way to Saskatchewan?
This week’s Arrow home video release is 1972’s The Red Queen Kills Seven Times from director Emilio Miraglia. This was included in Arrow’s Killer Dames collection along with The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave. The movie begins with two little girls, Kitty and Evelyn, getting into a fight after Evelyn steals Kitty’s doll. The two little girls are sisters and there is a family curse that states every one hundred years, one sister will kill the other. Then the dead sister will return from the grave and kill her murderer. Plus, the dead sister will kill six others just for fun.
Fast forward fifteen or so years and Kitty is now an adult played by the lovely Barbara Bouchet. No sign of Evelyn because she’s left for a life in America. We are then introduced to the Red Queen, a mysterious woman wearing a red cloak that stalks her victims with a knife. Incidentally, this is the same woman mentioned in the family curse, the dead sister that murders seven people. She stalks Evelyn’s and Kitty’s grandfather, causing him to die of sheer fright. The Red Queen then laughs maniacally and that freaks me out a bit. I don’t like that too much.
Now, you may find it strange that the Red Queen has surfaced once again since the criteria for the curse requires that one sister would have killed the other, but Kitty is alive and well and Evelyn has started a new life in America. Well, it turns out that isn’t exactly true. Seems that Evelyn was tormenting Kitty for like the one thousandth time and Kitty snapped. Kitty bashed her sister’s head into a stone column before tossing the body into a pond. Then she and two other conspirators, her older sister Franziska (Marina Malfatti) and Franziska’s husband, Herbert (Nino Korda), hid the body.
Kitty is a fashion photographer having an affair with a married man named Martin (Ugo Pagliai). Martin’s wife is locked away in a mental institution. She refuses to grant him a divorce and threatens to murder him. She also claims to have a friend named Evelyn that she converses with on a regular basis. When the Red Queen murders one of Martin’s associates in a park, witnesses describe a woman that looks exactly like Evelyn, but Kitty denies that resemblance as she’s starting to unravel from the stress of it all.
One thing I always find interesting about Giallo movies is how they hint at the preternatural and the paranormal, but these things are only an accent on the story. For instance, is there a family curse? Maybe. Is that curse in effect in this story? Maybe yes or maybe no. Maybe the curse is being used to deflect from what’s really going on. Regardless, it’s creepy as all get out. I’d like to commend Arrow on some great restorations of these four Giallo classics. They were well worth my time.
Jeff Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, episode 284, episode 441, episode 442, episode 443, episode 444, episode 450, and 477) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.