I’ve got a latest obsession; films prior to the 1980s. That decade is quite oversaturated, big franchises come from that decade and I think we kind of ignore anything prior to that decade or we don’t give it enough love. We enjoy Black Christmas, Alien and Halloween and then… that’s it. That’s kind of sad, to be honest. The general public will think of those films and as fans of horror, sometimes we get caught up in that as well.
So this review is basically on a whim after just randomly picking this film from Shudder. I also want to say this: I don’t remember if this was on Shudder itself or online but this movie is NOT PG. I don’t know where y’all messed up but it’s not. Nudity, violence, some sexual assault (hinted at) does not make it PG. Y’all lied.
Let’s talk about The Red Queen Kills Seven Times aka La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte.
This is a giallo/Italian horror film from 1972 and directed by Emilio Miraglio. The plot is easy to follow, we are dealing with a curse intertwined with a family and their generation(s) and the aftermath. We are following a main protagonist, Kitty, who we see as a young child picked on by her sister who for some reason, looks at this painting of The Red Queen with a dagger about to kill and it prompts her to continually stab young Kitty’s doll, beheading it and then coming out of her head to say “something about the painting told me to do it” or along those lines.
That sets up for what happens later when Kitty is older, involved in a successful company and living in the US. Her grandfather dies, it prompts her to come back and the killings begin. And it all boils down to a will, which… I just saw something similarly with A Bay of Blood.
All giallo films share similarities.
What I enjoyed about this was it felt more like a film noir or a mystery. It is a slasher but it is more than just a killer just killing to kill or on a rampage. There was more of a mystery, family drama mixed in. It almost reminded me of Don’t Look Now but an Italian flare on top.
I also liked most of the characters, who gave me something more than just typical vapidness I find occasionally in horror, minus one who was happily taken out (and he deserved it!) and I was quite glad of that. Kitty is a sympathetic character that is written well and you want to protect. She did not ask for any of these circumstances to be happening to her and there were moments where I felt she could have been pushed further or fight back but she had some weaker moments compared to others who seem to have control. Kitty never got her control or composure back.
The kills were okay, there were a couple that did stand out from the rest: one involving a car and a man who deserves it and just full on “i’m jealous and completely psycho i’ll bash someone’s head in against rocks cos i’m greedy for money” which was quite brutal and sad.
Music is quite memorable, though it gave me a mixture of a lot of other giallo films that I’ve watched. I even thought, does every director share the same soundtrack of background music? The cinematography is also quite prominent, again something about italian horror films share a lot of similarities that eventually got picked up by western directors in the late 70s and 80s.
Even though it was a bit long and it felt like it was dragging or slow at times, I will still give this film a 3.75 out of 5. It is worth watching if you are a fan of giallo and you want to see something outside of Bava/Fulci/Argento films. It’s quite clear everyone is influenced by each other and you can definitely see it within these 70s giallo films. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times or La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte stars Barbara Bouchet, Ugo Pagliai, Marina Malfatti and Sybil Danning and is directed by Emilio Miraglia.