“THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT THE GRAVE”— An Unusual Giallo Film

“The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave” (“La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba”)

An Unusual Giallo Film

Amos Lassen

 When Evelyn came out of the grave, Lord Cumberland completely took leave of his senses. He had been married to Evelyn and it is quite possible that she had been unfaithful and he blamed himself a little for her death. Now with the pressure of his guilt and her guilt, he has been having a rough tile his new wife, Gladys—especially after the ghost of Evelyn started to appear outside his bedroom windows or dressed as a maid dispensing warm milk from the kitchen.

“The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave” is an Italian-made British horror movie. It is an unusual and distinctive giallo from Emilio Miraglia. The supernatural is simply a storytelling device that is used for dealing with the themes of the principle themes of obsession, mental illness, and sexual perversion. The supernatural elements work extremely well with a visual filled with gothic atmosphere. This is a story of death, decay, sexual depravity, blackmail and moral emptiness. Set it a castle, we see the cold stonewalls and corridors of a gothic past. It also offers a metaphor for the mental fragmentation and fluctuating psychology of the central character Sir Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen). Although the film is set in the countryside of England, the film makes no attempt to disguise the fact that it was shot in mainland Europe.

The film opens with an attempted escape from an asylum that sets up the theme of mental instability we are invited to see the way Sir Alan spends his evenings. This consists of luring redheaded whores back to his castle with promises of cash and kinkiness. The kinkiness consists of a surprisingly well-equipped torture chamber, and before long Sir Alan is thrashing his guests into oblivion with a bullwhip. When his victims are dying from a knife wound, the camp sadist content really takes over and we see that this is Sir Alan’s own brand of personal therapy for the fact that his unfaithful wife Evelyn died in childbirth (or did she?). Sir Alan’s mind is shattered by hallucinations, flashbacks to his naked wife indulging in her affair, and an obsession with women with red hair. Anthony Steffen easily switches from affable and charming to a cold-hearted sadist and murderer.

When Sir Alan marries Gladys (Marina Malfatti), sightings of Evelyn become more frequent and the bodies began to stack up. The set pieces are of particular note, especially the peculiar death of the blackmailing Albert, and the grisly fate of the wheelchair ridden Aunt Agatha. The narrative structure first explores Sir Alan’s murderous mental fugues, and then switches to a ghostly tale of the supernatural and finally ends up in the more familiar confines of the giallo.

Sir Alan is a wealthy psychopath and there are many who are envious of him. The film is extremely stylish and with its bizarre subject matter emerges as a highly distinctive giallo. This is a film of unlikely contrasts, but ones that offered a route into a brand of gothic giallo that few filmmakers dare to use. It combines gothic and giallo conventions in a rich and thematic manner. Few gialli possess both the rot and smell of the grave and the camp modernity of a vacuous and artificial world of wealthy aristocrats and scheming relatives.

After the death of his wife Evelyn, Lord Alan Cunningham suffers an intense breakdown and after being released from an institution, he spends his time by picking up sexy women and bringing them home to his castle. After tormenting a sexy nightclub performer who does a sexy strip routine involving a coffin, he decides to take the advice of his physician friend, Richard (Rossi Stuart), and take a second wife, Gladys in record time. Unfortunately things get even worse as inexplicable murders take place at his country estate.

This film has plenty of perversity to keep things interesting. We get ludicrous plot twists, unscrupulous characters, sexual debauchery and a solid dose of murder to make this quite a fun viewing experience. The screenplay is wonderfully

bizarre and the story goes back on itself time and time again. At the beginning, we’re sure this is a psychological story about a sexually depraved man (and it is to some extent), but it soon becomes an atmospheric ghost story before settling on a twisty murder mystery. The end result is, a schizophrenic narrative in that none of the stories are wrapped up as adequately as possible.

Director Miraglia makes fantastic use of his castle setting, managing a number of moments that are undeniably creepy. The sweeping camera, surreal imagery and textured lighting helps to cover up some pretty comical lapses in narrative sense. The actors handle the outrageous material perfectly: Anthony Steffen is creepy, hilarious and sympathetic as the deeply disturbed central character who becomes convinced that his wife’s ghost is tormenting him. Marina Malfatti is sexy bride, who slowly discovers that something is dreadfully wrong with her new husband (but then she married him in less than a day after their first meeting!). The actors give a great deal of color to their roles.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations

Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio)

Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack

New audio commentary by Troy Howarth

Exclusive introduction by Erika Blanc

New interview with critic Stephen Thrower

The Night Erika Came Out of the Grave exclusive interview with Erika Blanc

The Whip and the Body archival interview with Erika Blanc

Still Rising from the Grave archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi

Original Italian theatrical trailer

Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

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