The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Well, that title is a mouthful. You would think that this is a supernatural horror film with a name like that, but this is actually a giallo with some gothic trappings and a taste for BDSM. Rich aristocrat Alan has suffered a mental breakdown after the death of his redheaded wife, Evelyn, at some point after he discovered she was cheating on him. So now he gets his kicks by torturing and killing redheaded strippers and prostitutes that he brings back to his big old mansion back in the English countryside.

Here’s the thing, though: Alan is the hero of this movie. Or the victim, depending on how you look at it. Because after some pining, he meets a woman named Gladys, falls in love again, and marries her, but his wife’s supposed apparition keeps coming back to drive him insane! There are quite a few twists and turns in this movie’s plot, and considering our boy Alan’s actions, he’s not exactly the easiest guy to root for. But then, just about everyone here seems like a bad guy, and considering he’s basically being gaslighted…well, maybe he’s not so bad. Plus he likes to whip sexy redheads who wear boots. Who isn’t into that?

There are many other strange elements to this film though; seances, strange murders, and maids that have to wear blond afros are all just a part of it. And there is exploitative nudity galore! In fact, I’d say that was a major intentional goal of the director, Emilio Miraglia. Miraglia was mostly active in the 1950s and 1960s. Evelyn here is one of his final films, seeing release in 1971. Miraglia finished his film career with giallos like this and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, which also featured a potentially murderous woman named Evelyn. I guess Emilio had a thing for the name.

If you’re into giallos, give this one a go. It’s a bit of an oddball with its setting, but Miraglia took his work seriously, making for a very watchable piece of cinema. Also, look forward to a little gore in one scene where foxes eat a corpse. Good times.

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