This is a classic, gothic tale of Family dramas and dark histories. We start by seeing two children playing. "Playing" - really one is playing, then another runs up and starts messing with her. The little dark haired girl steals the blonde girl's doll and runs into their massive castle home and to the room where their Grandfather is resting and reading. He calms the girls down and they get lost in staring at an awful painting one woman killing another with a knife. We find out that these are the Red Queen and Black Queen - a dark part of their family history. The Black Queen killed the Red Queen, but the Red Queen came back and settled the score, killing six people who were involved and killing the Black Queen last.
The small, brunette girl says that she's the Red Queen and destroys the doll with the same knife seen in the painting. The Grandfather orders that the painting be destroyed after seeing the effect it has on the little girl.
|Kitty and Fraziska Wildenbrück|
Now, I know I usually keep these short, sweet, and to the point, but this was a key issue for me with the film. From this child scene, we cut to the future. The Grandfather is being taken care of by a blonde woman I assumed was the blonde girl from the beginning of the film, but later after the Grandfather is dispatched by a mysterious woman in a flowing red cape, we see TWO blondes talking about how their sister - Evelyn - in in America. This totally through me for a loop the first time I saw this film. I thought, "Where was this third child in the beginning?" That aside....
The story flows seamlessly through as this Red Queen character starts killing people left and right, leaving Kitty and Fraziska Wildenbrück wondering if their sister is really in America at all. The Grandfather's will still needs to be read. Perhaps there is something worth killing for within it? And what about Kitty's boyfriend Martin? He seems to be gaining a lot with each passing murder. The police inspector is on the case and Kitty's co-workers all seem to have some involvement in one way or another.
And so it goes to the films wondrous conclusion.
The pace of the film is fantastic. We're shot from one event to another and characters are moved around like pieces in a chess match. Emilio Miraglia's Direction is fantastic, but the real star here is his work with Fabio Pittorru's story on their screenplay. It's tight and super solid. The gothic nature of the plot and location makes me very happy every time I watch it. And the mystery elements keep you guessing and guessing all the way through.
I love this RED QUEEN killer. It just comes off as wicked and cruel and mean with a fantastic, cruel laugh. It's a stylish, wraith-like vision.
I also had a blast J&B whiskey spotting in the film. Not as much as STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, but it's up there! :)
The lovely Barbara Bouchet isn't given a whole lot to do here as Kitty, but she is still extremely interesting when she's on screen.
Ugo Pagliai is great as Martin. He has just the right amount of bite without coming off as mean and overly macho. The can be an issue in these films for sure. The only issue I have with him is the fact that he looks a lot like Harry Shearer and I find that a bit distracting. hehehehe
Sybil Danning is in the film as well and people seem to swoon over her, but I found her to be in a rather awkward phase of life looks wise. She had a strange makeup thing going and didn't have her smoldering stare down yet. She just comes off looking angry and confused.
I was watching my new copy of the film and thought, "AH! Now I remember why I wanted to get this film on Blu - I LOVE IT!"
It's a great giallo and a fun mystery. WELL worth a viddy!