Queens of Evil (1970)

Man, Ray Lovelock can’t catch a break. Of the films I’ve seen him in, he never makes it to the final frame. Then again, he also gets nearly every girl that gets put in front of him, so while his final luck isn’t always great, he does fine along the way.

Queens of Evil AKA La Regine is a 70s occult-infused end of the hippy movement sun-drenched nightmare of a film that will find its way into my blu ray player multiple times this year. Lovelock is David, a motorcyclist who searching for answers until he meets a man in a Rolls Royce who has a flat. That old man pays back David’s selfless act by stabbing one of our protagonist’s tires. A chase ensues and the rich driver crashes his car and dies. David, fearing the inevitable legal issues, runs right into a dark forest.

He awakes to three gorgeous women named Liv (Haydée Politoff, Interrabang), Samantha (Silvia Monti, A Lizard In a Woman’s Skin) and Bibiana (Evelyn Stewart, The Whip and the Body) all watching him. They live in a huge house in the woods that is filled with impossible angles and gigantic full wall photos of their faces. They’re also given to serving huge meals and conducting rituals in the night.

This is the kind of movie where three women tell a guy that they have a ritual to attend in the middle of a lake to meet with the fish, then pulling hundreds of them and he’s like, “Nope. Nothing strange at all.”

Of course, he sleeps with every single of them before things descend into madness, filled with dream sequences, dragons painted onto nude flesh, a sinister party and finally a feminist-driven decimation, followed by time lapse flowers sprouting from a shallow grave. In a word — incredible.

Director Tonino Cervi somehow made a film in which three strange women seduced and are seduced by one man not sleaze at all, but instead strangely innocent and totally infused with the fantastic. He also produced one of the weirdest — imagine what that entails — Italian horror films, Il Nido del Ragno (The Spider Labyrinth).

The new Mondo Macabro release of this film is, as is par for the course for this company, wonderful. Beyond the brand new 4k transfer, there’s an archival interview with Lovelock (who also sang two songs in this), audio commentary by Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan, alternative scenes and the option to watch this dubbed in English or in the original Italian with subtitles.

You can get it from Mondo Macabro (their site is currently being worked on, so head to Diabolik DVD).

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