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Eclectic DVD presents
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

"Sorry, I thought it was a wig."
- Lord Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: September 21, 2003

Stars: Anthony Steffen, Erika Blanc, Marina Malfatti, Rod Murdock
Other Stars: Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Umberto Raho, Joan C. Davies
Director: Emilio P. Miraglia

Manufacturer: PDM
MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, sexuality, violence, sadomasochistic abuse, gore)
Run Time: 01h:38m:08s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
UPC: 820680504397
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- CDD+ F

DVD Review

It seems to be a necessity for Eurocult horror to require multiple viewings for them to make any sense. This picture, a staple of budget if not bootleg releases, is no exception. It took three efforts to coax some kind of sense out of it, and that was only after taking more notes than I've done since I was in law school. Copious nudity and general weirdness does help maintain viewer interest, however.

Lord Alan Cunningham (Antonio de Teffe, billed as Anthony Steffen) has a nasty kink: he hires redheaded hookers, takes them to his torture dungeon, whips them, drugs them, and then strangles them. Ah, the noblesse oblige of the English. His psychiatrist, Richard Timberlane (Umberto Raho) doesn't seem to think this is a problem, so long as Alan doesn't get caught. But when his cousin George (Rod Murdock) introduces him to the redheaded Gladys (Marina Malfatti), Alan is smitten and proposes marriage to her instead. But once wed, the weirdness truly begins, as Alan reveals that his dead wife Evelyn has been appearing and talking to him, and now her tomb is empty....

The confusion factor is amplified by the fact that all the redheads here are barely distinguishable, especially in this poor print and transfer, so it's tough to make out who exactly is still alive and who isn't. Malfatti does a decent job as the semi-appealing female lead, while top-billed Erika Blanc is only onscreen a few minutes. She does, however, get one of the most notorious moments in the film, the famous Coffin Striptease. Steffen is essentially nondescript and uninteresting, as is Raho. Rod Murdock, a familiar Eurocult face, at least brings some intensity to his role.

The production values for the most part are very good, with ample accoutrements of wealth surrounding Cunningham, and not just a torture dungeon. The strange touches also include five identical maids with blonde Afros and a peculiar aunt who jets around in a motorized wheelchair but who also appears to be able to walk just fine when the moment calls for it; the last detail is rather prominently displayed even though it goes nowhere. The finale feels tacked on, as if the filmmakers really had no idea where to go. Bruno Nicolai provides the score, which contains a number of compositions heard in Jess Franco films, among others.

The keepcase proclaims that this is an uncut version, however, the print is so splicey (with many jumps in particular during the nude scenes) that it would be difficult to prove the accuracy of that statement. The running time is, however, the same as that of the videos and DVD-Rs of the film issued by Sinister Cinema.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.20:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, though slightly cropped from the original 2.35 ratio down to around 2.20 or so. The framing is a little tight, but it's still a big improvement over the usual pan-and-scan job that one sees on this title. The serious problem is that just about all color other than green has faded out of the source print; watching this picture is like being in the Matrix for an hour and a half. Everything, from skintones to white shirts, is green, green, green. Black levels are severely lacking for the most part, although at times they become stronger than at others. As noted above the film is badly damaged and spliced throughout, and there is signficant distracting ghosting and motion trails during the Coffin Striptease. In all, not very pleasing.

Image Transfer Grade: D

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The sound is little better. Distorted, with substantial scratchiness, crackle and noise throughout, it's a chore to listen to this track. The sole audio provided for this Italian film is the English dub. At least the ADR work is clear enough that most of the dialogue can be made out, which is good because there aren't any subtitles.

Audio Transfer Grade: D+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are zero extras, and a mere six chapters for a full-length movie. To top it off, they seem to be placed entirely at random, in the middle of scenes. Insufficient, by a long shot.

Extras Grade: F

 

Final Comments

A confusing but ingratiatingly weird entry in the Eurocult genre, presented in widescreen but with a hideous greenish transfer. No extras. Since Image is reportedly releasing a disc of this film from the original negative, fans will probably want to wait for that issue instead.

 


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