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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
"The Red Queen Kills Seven Times" follows two sisters who are faced with apparent repercussions of a family curse after the death of their aristocrat grandfather. The legend has it that every hundred years, two sisters in the family bloodline will fight, resulting in the murder of one. After the prophecy comes true, a madwoman in a red cloak begins a killing spree in one of the sisters' lives, stalking the ancestral castle and mercilessly taking lives.
The second and last effort of Emilio Miraglia after the brilliant Gothic "The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave," "The Red Queen Kills Seven Times" is a rather similar effort, but with slight modifications in both plot and tone. Where "Evelyn" treaded supernatural Gothic territory, "Red Queen" is a bit more of a heavy-handed giallo that is shamelessly over-plotted and also far more violent. Evoking the kind of giallos that Argento or Bava made in the 1970s, the film really takes its time working up elaborate murders and a faceless killer.
Tonally, it is slightly different from Miraglia's preceding film in that it was shot exclusively in Germany, and very much has a Bavarian aesthetic, featuring a German-European castle setting, rolling forests, and small mountain villages as backdrops. It is an atmospheric film, and in Miraglia's fashion, is oriented toward the Gothic.
As I mentioned, the film is a bit zany in terms of plot, and throws curveball after curveball without pause, so it is a film that demands its audience's attention in order to make sense of what is happening on screen. Barbara Bouchet and Marina Malfatti (returning from Miraglia's previous film) have the lead roles, and are both very good. The finale is fantastically elaborate and the final reveal is thematically quite dark; there is an especially memorable scene set in a flooding underground chamber that really deserves some respect.
Overall, "The Red Queen Kills Seven Times" is a solid effort, and does a fantastic job at juggling elements of the giallo with that of the Gothic thriller. It is a far less supernaturally-oriented film than Miraglia's "Evelyn," and it is also more extensively plotted. The unabashed twists and turns do become a bit redundant and exhausting along the way, but the finale is a nice payoff to an otherwise atmospheric thriller. The killer's red cloak (perhaps a foresight for "Don't Look Now"?) and menacing cackle are also not to be dismissed. 7/10.
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