The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

"There are far too many coincidences."

When Kitty (Barbara Bouchet),  Franziska (Marina Malfatti), and Evelyn (uncredited) were children, their grandfather (Rudolph Schündler) told them of the Wildenbrück family curse: That in 1672, an ancestor known as "The Red Queen" took revenge for her own murder by rising from the grave and killing seven people - and the last victim was the sister who killed her. Now, every hundred years, the Red Queen returns to kill seven more people, the last being a sister of the Wildenbrück family.  Years later, Kitty and Franziska share the tragic secret of Evelyn's death. Though she died accidentally, the sisters hid the body in the family castle and told everyone that Evelyn moved to America.  But in 1972 – the year of the curse – people are being murdered by a strange dark-haired woman in a red cape, who bears a resemblance to Evelyn and laughs with a sinister cackle.  Could Evelyn be taking revenge from beyond the grave? Or has the ghost of the Red Queen returned? Kitty is dating Martin (Ugo Pagali), a married man – could his schizophrenic wife be the killer? Kitty knows that she will be the seventh victim, but who will be the other six and how will they die?

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is a fantastic giallo, full of twists, turns, red herrings, and a web of complicated character relationships. You may have to watch it twice to sort things out, but it's hardly a chore, thanks to the fast pace, good acting, and an engaging plot which mostly makes sense. Though the film is set in modern times, it borrows elements from Gothic horror, with a castle setting, cobwebbed dungeons, secret rooms, and a family curse.
  • A year before this movie, writer/director Emilio Miraglia made a horror movie called The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, which is also about a woman named Evelyn who avenges her own death.
  • Bruno Nicoli provides another great harpsichord-based score, which marries Gothic formality with a funky, modern style.
  • There's a dream sequence in the middle of the film which has become iconic in the world of giallo, featuring the knife-wielding killer running down the hallway of a modern building in slow motion, her cape and hair flowing behind her.
  • There's some pretty bad 70's art in this movie, but notice that Kitty has a painting by Joan Miró over her bed. 
  • I like that the title promises seven murders and then over-delivers.
What the Hell Am I Watching?

Why was Wildenbrück castle built with a staircase to nowhere? Kitty chases the killer through the house and up a staircase. She opens the door and finds herself outside, falling two stories down the front of the building. And if she was raised in this castle since childhood, why doesn't she know about this little architectural quirk?

The doctor at the psychiatric hospital has no problem casually dropping the surnames of famous patients. But he refuses to divulge first names because that would be unethical.

Fashion Moment

Because Kitty and Martin work in the fashion industry, there are a lot of great 1970's mod looks and wild fabric patterns featured in the film. But my favorite is worn by Rosemary (Pia Giancarlo), which somehow combines pirate stripes, newsboy knickers, and an oversized French beret.

The glasses complete the look.

Also, Martin's house uses the same set as the apartment in The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh.  That's definitely the same wallpaper and the same sofa. I also recognize some of the distinctive lighting fixtures.

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