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us title: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
italian title: La Dama rossa uccide sette volte
year: 1972
director: Emilio Miraglia
composer: Bruno Nicolai
full details: IMDB
overall score: 91

Bottom Line: For Completists Only
As long as you've seen eveything else, this is worth a look.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Urban thriller and gothic horror are merged in Emilio Miraglia's 2nd Giallo featuring the lovely Barbara Bouchet and an eerie soundtrack by Bruno Nicolai. The typical Giallo devices are leveraged here without much originally or deviation from the norm: A black gloved killer, a wide array of suspects, scantily clad fashion models, a fumbling police investigation, a few odd clues, and an emotionally charged motive for murder.

The gothic influence and German location create an effectively spooky atmosphere, especially in the opening scenes. But I think the film suffers a bit from being a little too polished and austere. Almost every scene is brightly lit and uses a realistic color palate, so there's no opportunity for the saturation of colors or shadows to influence the mood of the scenes. The murder sequences have very little tension to them. The Red Queen just pops out of hiding, thrusts her dagger a few times, and then runs off laughing. 

And then there's Ugo Pagliai who plays Martin Hoffman, the primary suspect, love interest, and amateur detective of the film. If ever there was an award for worst casting decision for a Giallo protagonist, Red Queen would win hands down. Ugo's character is scripted to be a suave, dapper and powerful mogul running a fashion studio, but he comes off looking wimpy and a tad-bit feminine. In the final sequence, he can't even rescue Kitty from the flooded chamber himself and instead relies on the police in one of the most bizzare and anti-climactic Giallo endings I've seen.

Incidentally, for a film that seems to have had quite a large budget, why did they use the exact same apartment for Martin and Kitty as the one used by Julie and Neil in The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardth?

But maybe I'm being too hard on Red Queen. After all, not every Giallo needs to be as artful as Argento's Bird with the Crystal Plumage or as emotionally provoking as What Have You Done to Solange? Even so, there are so many better "not-so-serious Gialli" to choose from that it's difficult to recommend Red Queen until you're out of options.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 55/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Amateur Detective5 points
Classic Period (1970 - 1975)5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Avoid Capture: Killed by Police or other character5 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 27/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Flashback Revelation3 points
Mistaken Identity2 points
More than one killer or accomplice4 points
Morricone/Nicolai/Ortolani3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 9/10
Animal, Number, Color, or "Death" in title1 point
Attend Funeral1 point
Dolls/Dummies1 point
J&B1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Prove Innocence1 point
Spiral Stairs1 point
Taunting1 point
Total Points : 91/100



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Published: 2012-10-15