LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE (The Red Queen Kills Seven Times - 1972)
Most Gialli offer a mix of horror and whodunit (who is the black-gloved killer?), seasoned with a strong dose of eroticism. In that aspect, The Red Queen follows the rules - the story-line is a real puzzle, the women are blond and beautiful and show their boobs - but it's nevertheless a rather unconventional genre entry, often closer in spirit to a Hammer movie than to the average Giallo.
The movie is set in central Europe, where - as we all know - evil dwells and the dead rise from their tombs. Kitty and Evelyn are twin sisters, but not the best of friends. One day, when having a fight, Kitty accidently kills Evelyn. With the help of her elder sister Franziska she covers up the incident (the body is hidden in the caves of the family castle) but years later a woman dressed in red starts killing Kitty's relatives and friends. Kitty remembers that her late grandfather used to tell a story before the twins went to sleep, a story about a Red Queen who was killed by her sister, the Black Queen, but came back from the other side to take revenge ...
We're in Central Europe, but we're also in a Giallo so there must be a natural explanation for the seemingly supernatural proceedings. The over-complicated plot is occasionally a bit hard to follow and the conclusion rather far-fetched, but the movie is shot on beautiful locations, in bright colors, and is certainly among the most stylish of its kind. The brief (and very sudden) flashbacks are very effective and halfway through there's a protracted dream sequence - shot with right-angled mirrors - that is superb. And yes, there's also enough blood & gore to please those who watch these movies for their sleaziness.
3+ out of 5