Monday, May 26, 2014

La Notte Che Evelyn Uscì Dalla Tomba/The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave (1971)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Some movies have no business having been made.  Yes, there are a lot of bad movies out there and some at least have some value, even if it’s as fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Then, there are those like The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave.  It’s a movie so horrible that I really don’t think anyone will mind if I give it one star.

The movie centers around Lord Alan Cunningham.  He lost his wife, Evelyn, several years ago and hasn’t remarried.  He does have a thing for redheaded women.  In fact, he likes to lure them back to his castle.  At first, it looks like he’s interested in sex, but when the women say or do the wrong thing, Alan goes ballistic on them and kills them.  (At least I think he does.  He’s not actually shown killing anyone, although the women go missing.)

The late Evelyn’s brother seems to have nothing better to do than to hang around Alan’s estate and spy on Alan.  This is probably because Alan is paying him off.  All of the brother’s dialogue seems to deal with him knowing the truth about Evelyn’s death or what Alan is doing now or about how he wants more money.

About halfway through the movie, Alan’s good friend and cousin, George Harriman, convinces Alan to remarry, saying that it will bring balance to his life.  So, Alan eventually agrees.  He has his castle fixed up so he can have it ready for someone should she present herself.  Eventually, Alan meets Gladys.  After knowing her for a few hours, he asks her to marry him.  She doesn’t believe him, so they spend the night together.  When he asks again the following morning, she agrees.

They live in the castle, which has just been finished, and hire a bunch of women to wear blond wigs and be their maids.  (I don’t know why they were supposed to be blond, either.)  They throw parties and have guests and do everything a couple is supposed to do.  Alan starts to become unhinged when Gladys reports seeing a redhead roaming around the house.  From there, it’s just a matter of time before a really boring plot to have Alan committed comes to light.  Once the plan is foiled, the movie ends.

Yes, this is a movie that is so long and boring that it even has a long and boring title.  It’s actually as if we have two shorter scripts that couldn’t really go anywhere on their own, so someone got the bright idea to put them together to see what happens.  Alan is going about murdering women.  As soon as he marries, this stops.  There’s no mention of killing anyone or having any homicidal tendencies at all.  Instead, the brother-in-law mysteriously dies and it seems that Evelyn’s body has gone missing.

There are some parts that are downright laughable.  Alan’s last victim is an erotic dancer who’s big thing seems to be blowing out candles.  (Her act lasts all of 30 seconds.)  Yes, there’s nudity, but very little of it is erotic.  (Alan takes his victims to a room filled with torture devices; if you’re not into that, be warned.)

The movie was also very confusing.  It starts with a man running from two other men, apparently trying to escape from a mental institution.  It’s not clear what this has to do with anything.  Also, Alan’s last victim escapes, but doesn’t run very far.  It’s not that she couldn’t.  It’s just that she chooses to stay in a very visible area as if she’s hiding there.  Alan finds and catches her, only to fall asleep.  When he wakes up, he finds that she’s gone.  I’m not even sure if she escaped or not.

Both the acting and the dubbing are very bad.  (The movie was originally released in Italy in 1971.)  None of the characters really inspire any sort of interest.  Looking back, it was like the people translating the movie didn’t have the actual script to work with and had to make a lot of stuff up as they went along.

Video quality is at a low.  This looks like it was transferred from actual reels that were on the verge of deteriorating beyond repair.  There were also points where the tint would go from a bright, normal hue to yellow, then to green and go back to normal, only to go back to a dark yellow.  Whoever was responsible for this may have actually had to patch together several different versions.

There are apparently several different releases.  Mine was the 100-minute version, which was about 90 minutes too long.  It takes a long time to get going.  Once it does, it abruptly changes direction and takes a while to really get going again.  Had I not been so intent on reviewing all 9 movies in the 3-disc set I have, I would have totally skipped this movie.  Avoid it at all costs. 

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