Emilio Paolo Miraglia created two giallo — this film and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. This one goes more into the horror realm than the typical themes of the genre.
Lord Alan Cunningham starts this movie off by running away from an insane asylum, a place he’s been since the death of his redheaded wife, Evelyn, who he caught having sex with another man. To deal with his grief, Alan does what any of us would do — pick up redhead prostitutes and strippers, tie them up, then kill them.
A seance freaks Alan out so badly he passes out, so his cousin — and only living heir — Farley moves in to take care of him, which basically means going to strip clubs and playing with foxes. Alan nearly kills another stripper before Farley gives him some advice — to get over Evelyn, he should marry someone that looks just like her. Alan selects Gladys (Marina Malfatti, All the Colors of the Dark) as his new wife and comes back home.
Sure, you meet someone one night and marry them the next. But nothing could compare Gladys for the weirdness of living in an ancient mansion, along with a staff of identical waitresses, Evelyn’s brother and Alan’s wheelchair-bound aunt. Our heroine is convinced that Evelyn is not dead. And the other family members get killed off — Albert with a snake and Agatha is eaten by foxes!
Gladys even looks at the body in the tomb before Alan catches her and slaps the shit out of her, as he is going crazier and crazier. Finally, Evelyn rises from her grave, which sends him back to a mental institution.
The big reveal? Gladys and Farley were in on it all along. But wait, there’s more! Susan, the stripper who survived Alan’s attack, was the one who was really Evelyn and Gladys has been poisoned! Before she dies, the lady who we thought was our heroine wipes out the stripper and Farley gets away with the perfect crime.
But wait! There’s more! Alan had faked his breakdown and did it all so that he could learn that it was Farley who was making love to his wife and killed her when she refused to run away with him. A fight breaks out and Farley gets burned by acid. He’s arrested and Alan — who up until now was pretty much the villain of this movie — gets away with all of his crimes!
This is a decent thriller, but it really feels padded in parts and tends to crawl. That said, it has some great music, incredibly decorated sets and some twists. Not my favorite giallo, but well worth a Saturday afternoon watch. There are some moments of sheer beauty here, such as the rainstorm where Alan sees Evelyn’s ghost rise.
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