Monday, 11 March 2013

The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (1971)

The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave is a film that I know I should score pretty low. I laughed during many moments, I was never scared for a second and the camerawork seems to be planned to highlight the bad (over-)acting throughout. Yet, despite the major flaws, I liked it. I liked it a hell of a lot.

The plot sees Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) caught in a vicious cycle of ever-so-naughty behaviour. He has a thing for redheads, you see, and likes nothing better than taking them back to his estate, eventually getting them to put on some long, leather boots and then get a bit kinky before he spoils it all by taking things to far and causing them no small amount of trauma in the form of making them dead. Lord Alan just hasn't been the same since his wife (the titular Evelyn) died during childbirth. His doctor (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) keeps trying to help him, while others (Joan C. Davis as Aunt Agatha, Enzo Tarascio as cousin George and Roberto Maldera as Albert) may or may not be messing with his mind. Perhaps everything will work out for the best when he meets and decides to marry the lovely Gladys (Marina Malfatti). Perhaps not.

Directed by Emilio Miraglia, who also co-wrote the uneven script with Fabio Pittorru and Massimo Felisatti, The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave may not count as some long lost masterpiece, but it has some stylish moments scattered here and there and the central plot allows for a heady concoction of fetishism, sex and death. Call me shallow, but it works for me.

The cast are a mix of heavy breathing and widened eyes, with the only real suave character being the good doctor. They are easy to point and laugh at, but it's worth bearing in mind that a) I saw the dubbed version and b) the film is from a time when that overcooked melodrama was much more common than it is nowadays. If only Nicolas Cage had been at this stage of this career at the end of the 1960s/start of the 1970s . . . . . . . . . he could have been a giallo superstar. Thankfully, there is at least the added enjoyment of watching the likes of Marina Malfatti and Erika Blanc occasionally in various states of undress.

The plot twists and turns nicely and it's fun to get to the finale and discover just what's going on, even for people who have been one step ahead the whole way through. There aren't too many death scenes, but the ones shown are memorable enough and one in particular stands out from the crowd (I'd give a clue to what it entails, but I don't want to spoil anything for those lucky enough to get their hands on this film).

When this film started I was laughing within the first few minutes and I didn't really stop laughing until the end credits rolled. But, for all that, I've also grown fond of it and enjoy it for the bit of off-the-wall entertainment that it is. Those who like their movies to be just a bit less laughable should remove a point or two.


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