Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE

A dramatic moment in Evelyn
THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (aka La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba/1971). Director: Emilio Miraglia. 

This zesty Italian horror film combines several sub-genres to good if weird effect. First we learn from the very first that the "hero," Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) is a serial killer who brings prostitutes to his mouldering castle so he can slay them. Alan proposes to Gladys (Marina Malfatti) the first night that he meets her, and she winds up ensconced in the newly refurbished manor as Lady Cunningham. Then the movie becomes a ghost story as she and others swear that they see the spectre of Evelyn, Alan's first wife, haunting the castle. If that weren't enough, the picture metamorphoses into a whodunit as someone [other than the obvious suspect, Alan] begins wiping out the rest of the cast one by one. Poor Aunt Agatha (Joan C. Davis), in the film's most vomitous scene, becomes pet food for the family foxes. Suspects and victims include Albert (Roberto Maldera), Evelyn's sleazy brother; George (Enzo Tarascio/Rod Murdock), Alan's cousin; family retainer Farley (Umberto Raho); and the handsome family physician, Dr. Timberlane (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart). While at times Evelyn plays like bad softcore porn, it is quite absorbing, unpredictable, and  suspenseful, although you may still be a bit confused when the movie is over. 

Verdict: Like an Italian verismo opera on uppers. ***.

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