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The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972)

As I begin to delve deeper into the filmography of the lovely and talented Barbara Bouchet I learn more regarding the terminology of what I've simply been referring to as Italian thrillers.  While that is technically a true description, these films actually have their only unique term known as "giallo".  For the longest time I thought giallo was simply the name of the producer or director of most of these Italian thrillers (excuse my ignorance) but giallo is simply a term to describe this genre of film which were derived from Italian pulp fiction literature, and as films are characterized by liberal amounts of murder, stylish camera work, interesting musical scores and lots of lovely ladies.

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte) stars Barbara Bouchet as Kitty Wildenbrück, a woman who believes she's being haunted by the Wildenbrück castle curse.  When she was a child her grandfather told her and her sister about the curse of the castle which occurs every 100 years to any pair of sisters that grew up in the castle.  The legend goes that two sisters hated each other, one sister (referred to as the Red Queen) was always harassing the other (the Black Queen).  When they grew up the Black Queen obtained her revenge by killing the Red Queen, but the Red Queen arose from her grave, murdered six people and made her sister, the Black Queen, her seventh victim.

Kitty was always the brunt of her sister Evelyn's abuse, when they grew up Evelyn's harsh nature eventually came back around to bite her when Kitty accidentally kills her by slamming her against a cement pillar.  Kitty and a couple of other residents of the castle are able to keep the incident a secret, claiming Evelyn's prompt disappearance was because she ran off to America, all the while her corpse laid buried in a secret room under the castle.  After a while a mysterious red caped woman begins murdering people in Kitty's social circle, someone to who claims to be Evelyn!

Much like the previous giallo film I reviewed, Don't Torture A Duckling, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is a decent thriller which manages to keep you guessing the entire film as to the true identity of the killer, only real difference between this film is it's nowhere near as violently graphic and at times disturbing as Don't Torture A Duckling got.  Babara Bouchet has a nice large role and gives a convincing performance as a woman who truly believes she's being haunted by her dead sister who is eventually going come for her.  The film also stars Marina Malfatti (someone I'm not familiar with) and popular B-movie maven Sybil Danning has a small role.

My only real issues with the film is it's flow and overall quality of the story.  Once again I'm surprised how a film that's only 90 minutes long can feel as if it's pressing two hours!  It might simply have to do with the script, as compared to Don't Torture A Duckling this is quite a bit more campy in terms of it's quality and execution.  Also I found the storyline to be rather confusing at times as a few key characters never seemed to be given a proper introduction and were simply thrown into the film forcing you to guess who the were. This seemed to be the case with a couple characters who were supposedly related to Kitty in some form, if their relation was ever mentioned it wasn't very clear because I missed it.  Overall, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is another above average giallo film that for the most part was exciting to watch, especially the final twenty minutes when everything began to really snowball for the characters.


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