The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Right, what we have here is pure sleazy Giallo fun from 1971. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is one of two Gialli made by director Emilio P. Miraglia, the other being the absolutely fantastic The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. However, it has always been this film that has been the more infamous of the two.The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (1971) - Poster

The basic plot of the film is a bit muddled, and ultimately seems to have a few gaping plot holes. What it lacks in a coherant plot it more than makes up for with beautiful women, garish 60s-meets-70s style, nudity, sleaze, violence, a sexy slick Bruno Nicolai score (which is more Morricone than his usual style), and even gore! How many films do you get to see a family of foxes eat someone including graphic scenes of them pulling out intestines?(!) If you like great looking red-headed women, this film is for you! If you’re a fan of the gorgeous Christina Hendricks then you will love the range of gorgeous, curvy redheads on display.

Back to the plot, and we find ourselves in England at the start of the 70s. Anthony Steffen plays wealthy Lord Alan Cunningham, a man haunted by the memory of his deceased wife Evelyn. Lord Alan’s grieving is not what you would call normal. Instead he takes a series of redheaded women (who remind him of Evelyn) back to his rotting, dust-encrusted castle where he procedes to pay them to indulge in his perverted games in his chamber full of torture devices and medieval weaponary. Once his games get underway, he becomes haunted with visions of his wife cheating on him in the past (a nice flashback to slow-motion garden nudity!). This enrages him and invariably leads to him killing the redhead! So our Lord Alan of Rotten Castle is not a nice guy!

The Night Evelyn Came Out From the Grave (1971) 

We also find out that one of Lord Alan’s best friends is Psychologist Dr. Richard Timberlane (played by Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) that knows all about Alan attacking the redheads, and believes this is just Alan’s way of fighting his demons from his dead wife (I’d actually call it murder!).

The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave 

Also living in the Rotten Castle estate are Albert (Evelyn’s brother and the gamekeeper), Aunt Agatha (confined to a wheelchair and supposedly paralysed), Farley (who I still have no idea what he does on the estate other than give stern looks at everyone), and occasionally Lord Alan’s playboy cousin George (who likes to wear big hoop earings).

The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave (1971) 

Dr. Richard Timberlane tells Lord Alan that he must marry again to help heal his slowly decaying mind, and eventually Lord Alan is introduced to Gladys (Marina Malfatti). After one night of passion, Lord Alan proposes to Gladys and they are married. They head to the Rotten Castle (which has now miraculously been restored to all its stylish early 70s glory!) and set-up their new life together (complete with 5 maids sporting identical blonde afros!).

The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave 

However, soon Gladys realises that not all is right in the kingdom of Lord Alan, and starts to dig a little deeper…

As I said earlier, there are massive plotholes in the film. For a start, Lord Alan is a cold-blooded killer who murders women who remind him of Evelyn. However, by the end of the film he is the hero! Not something that will go down well with those concerned with the explotation of women. The film seems to conveniently forget that he’s somewhat of a bastard. The film also provides many plot tangents that are never explained properly (if at all!). These include why does paralysed Aunt Agatha stand-up and walk just before she is brutally despatched? Why do the maids have to be identical? Surely as long as they’re not redheaded, there would be no stirring of the evil Lord Alan beast?  Why does Gladys get involved with the subtefuge, when she seemingly seems to be none-the-wiser about anything going on? Who was Evelyn having an affair with, and did she actually have one?

The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave 

Many plotholes and some point towards maybe some heavy editing before the film was even released to shorten it (it does have a long runtime already for a giallo). I’m sure some of the nonsense would probably have been explained by some potentially trimmed dialogue. However none of this detracts from the fun of the film, and the overall sense of style. The nudity is gratutious and plentiful, the actors all look great and carry the film well. The most infamous scene of the film is Erika Blanc’s coffin striptease.The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave (1971) The dancing is some of the worst seen on screen until we got to Lenzi’s Nightmare City (even the zombies couldn’t take that disco dancing), but you can’t deny the sex appeal of the whole scene. My favourite appearance is the gorgeous Maria Teresa Tofano who appears as the first victim, Polly. Her naked cavorting around Lord Alan’s dungeon of perversion simply has to be seen to be believed! It’s a shame that her only other appearance is in Pupi Avati’s creepy Zeder (1983).

The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave (1971) 

The version I watched was the full restored, uncut NoShame Films release that came as a double feature with The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. It’s an astonishingly good transfer and looks sumptious. The garish colours of the fashions and styles leap out of the screen. There is a wealth of detail on show, and even the dark scenes have plenty of detail. It’s presented in its full 2.35:1 widescreen glory, and I am sure has not looked as good since its original theatrical run. It’s very much worth your time to pick up this double-feature, if you have not already done so!

The Night Evelyn Came Out From The Grave (1971) 

Very silly fun, but definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of Italian style’n’sleaze!


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