Italian Horror Blogathon: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (aka La dama rossa uccide sette volte, Blood Feast)
The camera moves with confidence through these corridors of the castle and cramped apartment rooms; always perfectly framing the action. Whether its young Kitty playing with her doll in the foreground while the family castle in the background dwarfs her, or whether it’s an upshot of the staircase (more square than spiral, but it has the same effect nonetheless) in an apartment building that is reminiscent of the spiral staircase from Kill Baby Kill (random side note: this is a similar shot Scorsese would use in Shutter Island), Miraglia is always framing these scenes so that we’re simultaneously drinking in the colors but also looking for something that may be a clue to the mystery. This bright, colorful ambiance reminded me of Blood and Black Lace – another giallo that brilliantly used the entire frame to divert our attention from the danger by getting us to focus on the beautiful compositions. It’s a nifty trick that Bava used in his very best films, and Miraglia uses it here to equally great effect.
It is without hyperbole that I compare The Red Queen Kills Seven Times to the films I’ve compared it to above. The aforementioned films are some of my absolute favorite horror movies (those that know me know that I especially love The Perfume of the Lady in Black), but that’s what I want to get across to everyone reading this. You really must see this movie. Overhype be damned, Miraglia’s films deserves viewership. Much like the lesser known heroes of Italian horror – Avati, Barilli, and Aldo Lado to name a few – Emiio Miraglia belongs in that very special group. Here is a film that hasn’t garnered the popularity of a Suspiria or Blood and Black Lace, but it’s just as important to the subgenre; it’s just as important for people to know that Italian horror is so much more than just those great masters. Films like this remind me that no matter how much dreck I sift through (and there’s a lot of it in Italian horror, especially the giallo), how much bad metal music and poorly lit sexploitation and violence I have to endure, there’s always something beautiful and haunting – there’s always some kind of gem – to unearth. When I think I’ve seen it all or heard of them all, I remember that Italian horror is the gift that keeps on giving.
Yes, I'll say it again: this is comparable to Bava; just look at these screenshots: