A memorable Gothic Giallo in a shocking, lurid style

Released as part of Arrow Video’s Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers box set, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is a lurid murder mystery by Emilio P. Miraglia. It’s a richly atmospheric giallo that includes a distinctive Gothic tone with a touch of the supernatural, somewhat unusual for giallo of the 1970s. The shocking giallo will keep you guessing until its very bloody conclusion.

Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) is a troubled man. Having become mentally disturbed since the death of his wife, Evelyn, he lures prostitutes to his dilapidated castle for kinky BDSM games before brutally murdering them. Italian screen siren Erika Blanc plays one of his early victims in an unforgettable appearance as a stripper. Surrounded by friends and family aware that something isn’t right with Alan, he’s insulated from their suspicions by his wealth. Alan’s obsession with redheaded women that remind him of his dead wife threatens to send him over the edge of sanity. Wild visions of Evelyn plague him.

After a string of several murders by Alan, he unexpectedly takes a wife after barely knowing her, Gladys (Marina Malfatti, All the Colors of the Dark). When Gladys claims she met a redheaded woman living on the estate similar to Alan’s dead wife, he begins to think Evelyn has returned from the grave. It’s a wild race to the finish as the bodies pile up and Alan falls further into madness.

This is a well crafted thriller that could have only been made in the Seventies.

Miraglia’s film is memorable for its fusion of rich Gothic themes with the standard giallo template. Cunningham’s palatial but decaying castle is a perfect Gothic setting for the aristocrat’s deviant desires and murders. The plot is all giallo, filled with twists in a looping murder mystery that builds and builds to a devastating conclusion. This is a bloody, entrancing ride as the viewer is not entirely sure what’s happening with Evelyn.

Supernatural elements rarely play a part in giallo thrillers and the mysterious Evelyn messes with the normal genre narrative, making it far more unpredictable and thrilling than the average entry. Composer Bruno Nicolai comes up with one of his most exciting scores, a real landmark for giallo and early exploitation films. It’s practically worth the price of admission by itself.

Elaborate murder sequences, fleshy amounts of nudity, decadent production design, a twisting plot filled with psychotic characters, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave has everything it takes to be a great giallo. This is a well crafted thriller that could have only been made in the Seventies. If only every giallo could feature such shocking scenes as a human corpse being dismembered by a pack of foxes. It’s one of the more visceral moments in the film and provides an electric jolt to the nervous system, even for this jaded reviewer.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave Blu-ray screen shot 3

Video

Filmed in the relatively cheap Techniscope format, Arrow Video still gives the giallo a beautiful, new 2K scan from the original camera negative. Some occasionally erratic but atmospheric cinematography introduces a bit of softness and short focal depth at times.

Make no mistake: this is crisp, vibrant definition for this kind of stock. Extraordinary definition is supplemented with a wonderfully rich color palette. A fine contrast works for the material. The new transfer shows judicious choices made in the color timing, respecting the filmmaker’s intentions.

Clarity is on the high side for a vintage catalog property and a few stray strands of gate hair are just about the only visible debris on the print. Relatively inky black levels display excellent shadow delineation. The unprocessed transfer contains fantastic grain reproduction in a high-bitrate AVC encode.

The 102-minute main feature is encoded in flawless AVC on a BD-50, presented at its intended 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It averages a high 34 Mbps, perfectly rendering every nuance and shadow found on the original negative in flawless detail. Arrow Video has proven they are the best at handling vintage Italian films on Blu-ray and this disc is another superlative job.

Audio

Both the English and Italian dubs each come in fine, if different sounding, 1.0 DTS-HD MA soundtracks. Speaking on the quality of the dubs, I found the Italian recording to feature far more appropriate vocals for each character. The English dub makes some unusual casting choices for the voices, badly dating it.

The actual audio quality between the dubs varies. Composer Bruno Nicolai’s wonderful brassy score is one of the film’s best elements but it sounds smoother and less compressed in the Italian dub. Both feature similar fidelity, though the Italian dub offers a slightly thinner presentation that is lighter on bass.

Optional English subtitles are included for the Italian soundtrack, while English HOH subs are included for the English soundtrack. They display in a white font inside the scope framing at all times.

Extras

Arrow Video has released the Killer Dames as a limited edition box set of 3000 units, including The Red Queen Kills Seven Times with this movie. The Blu-rays are coded for Regions A and B, while also including both films on DVD as well.

This is a typical lavish Arrow Video box set with new special features and a wealth of archival featurettes.

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE special features

  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth – An informative track with concise details and a smooth, flowing delivery. Worth a listen for giallo fans.
  • Exclusive introduction by actress Erika Blanc (00:54 in HD)
  • Remembering Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (15:12 in HD) – Stephen Thrower goes over the movie in this new analysis of it. This is a watchable, enjoyable featurette.
  • The Night Erika Came Out of the Grave (09:44 in HD) – An exclusive, new interview with Erika Blanc. She apparently can’t remember a single detail about the director but recalls details about the set and her working experience on it.
  • The Whip and the Body (20:57 in SD) – An archival interview with Erika Blanc from the 2006 DVD.
  • Still Rising from the Grave (22:49 in SD) – An archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi
  • Original Italian and US theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  • Limited Edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by James Blackford, Kat Ellinger, Leonard Jacobs and Rachael Nisbet

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review as a pre-production screener. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Summary

A classic, Gothic giallo that delivers mind-twisting thrills and a memorable Erika Blanc appearance.

Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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