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When two sisters inherit their family castle, a string of murders committed by a mysterious dark haired woman in a red cloak decimates their circle of friends. Is the killer their ancestor, the "Red Queen" whom legend says claims seven lives every hundred years? Written by
A fascinating Giallo thriller from director Emilio Miraglia who returns to the genre after (The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave), and delivers something well and truly special and presented in a psychedelic light, this little unknown gem is a wonderful example of the genre with malicious murders, red herrings and everything the Giallo type can muster and all presented in such a fluid direction.
'The Red Queen Kills Seven Times' begins with 2 sisters Kitty and Evelyn who as children learn about a family curse that haunts The Widenbruck family every 100 years that a feud between two sisters ends in one of their deaths and the other one comes back as the Red Queen and kills seven people, before killing the remaining sister. Then flash forward to 1972 where Kitty is now all grown up, and of course it seems that history is repeating itself with someone in a red cloak is murdering Kitty's friends, and Evelyn seems to be nowhere in sight, could it be her or has the ghost of the red queen come back for revenge.
'The Red Queen' is a seriously loopy production that where it really strives is that it's unpredictable, there's a ruthless number of twists and turns and they all serve to up the stakes as people begin to get murdered one by one, the mystery surrounding the red queen is very intriguing, given the fact that she can kill and vanish without a trace is well and truly un-nerving and adds to the suspense and the overall supernatural feel to the production, this concept is not squander though as the director uses these to his advantage by incorporating creepy visuals and having everything filmed in a dream like fashion which proves startling at times and a killer draped in a red cloak and a long black wig is a treat for the eyes. All of these elements are handled beautifully with a solid plot with many clever plot twists and turns and moves along at a brisk pace with a wonderful score by Bruno Nicoladi that hits all the right notes, along with violence that is very sadistic and bloody with some great set pieces and perfectly balances the back story with what's going on in the present.
Barbara Rouchet tackles the character of Kitty with a timid manner and passive outlook, who doesn't do much but lay on the sympathetic charm and attempts to stay sane and alive and in that simple presentation she allows her outrageous beauty and overall appearance to take centre stage and shine, she may not be the type of character to take charge of the narrative onward, but is more like a tormented deer caught in the headlights, reacting to the situations that are going on around her. But that is a staple of the genre and it is used very effectively here. What allows this approach to work is the strong and memorable supporting characters such as Ugo Pagliai who does much of the heavy lifting as Martin Hoffman who gets swept up into the madness once he reveals his long standing attraction to Kitty, even though he may be a possible suspect within the cast, he does a wonderful job at playing detective like role as he delves deeper into the mystery of the red queen and the possible connection it has with his now estranged ex-wife whose locked away in an insane asylum, but is also a part of the mystery itself.
So all in all without a doubt 'The Red Queen' is a definite highlight of Italian Cinema that takes all of the usual troupes and just runs with them and mixing it up with a supernatural angle just makes the whole thing worthwhile and sadly like many other great movies from this time period, this one seems to be forgotten which is a shame as this deserves to be viewed more by a wider audience as it's just a total thrill ride that has all the right ingredients.
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