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Blu-ray Review: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, 1971) is the first in a duo of gialli films from director Emilio Miraglia, the second being La dama rossa uccide sette volte (The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, 1972). Both films have received recent separate special edition Blu-ray releases from Arrow Films, complete with a 2K restoration, and they make for a perfect pairing.

La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba concerns an aristocrat, Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) who is driven to depravity after the death of his beloved, if unfaithful, wife, Evelyn. Luring young women to his estate in order to torture and kill them, Cunningham is convinced to marry again by his close friend in order to stop this cycle of horror. The union appears to have sated Cunningham’s sinister urges; that is, until people close to the couple are violently murdered. Is Cunningham back to his old ways, or has Evelyn returned from the grave?

Bruno Nicolai’s score is subtler and less haunting than its counterpart in La dama rossa uccide sette volte, but it is a beautiful piece of music that enhances the action onscreen and adds to the gothic atmosphere.

Visually, the film enjoys a lush palette that complements the baroque set design to dramatic effect. In its style and composition the film channels Massimo Pupillo’s l boia scarlatto (Bloody Pit of Horror, 1965), even borrowing the central megalomaniac character murdering victims in his gothic castle. The archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi is thus a welcome addition to the selection of extra features.

Noted Italian actress Erika Blanc (Kill Baby, Kill, 1966; The Devil’s Nightmare, 1971) features prominently within the special edition contents, with an archival interview discussing her role in the film, an exclusive interview for the Blu-ray release, and a segment introducing the film. A deeper analysis of La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba can be found courtesy of an interview with critic Stephen Thrower (Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, 1999) and an audio commentary from author Troy Howarth (The Haunted World of Mario Bava and So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films, 2015).
From its stunning reversible sleeve, containing newly commissioned artwork from Gilles Vranckx, to the restored film and the peppering of additional content, this is a special edition worthy of any Italian horror fan.

The Arrow Films special edition of La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba is available from 17th April 2017.

About Rebecca Booth

Rebecca has a Masters in Film Studies from the University of Southampton. In addition to her role as Managing Editor at Diabolique Magazine, she co-hosts the international horror podcast United Nations of Horror, as well as X-Files X-Philes and The Twin Peaks Log. She has contributed to several popular culture websites such as Wicked Horror, Den of Geek, and Big Comic Page, and has contributed essays to following publications: Unsung Horrors (We Belong Dead, 2016), Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (Spectacular Optical, 2017), and the forthcoming A Filthy Workshop of Creation: Sin & Subversion in Hammer's Gothic Horrors (Electric Dreamhouse Press, 2018).

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