(This review is humbly dedicated to Sage Stallone, whose untimely passing last week robbed the world of a great programmer and film conservationist. If you enjoy the fact that you can watch The Beyond, you have Sage Stallone to thank. It was suggested in more than one of his obituaries that the best way to honor the man would be to watch the most squalid Italian Horror movie they could get their hands on. Well Sage here’s hoping this suffices.)
I’ve wanted to see The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave, ever since Stephen King casually name dropped it as one of the most luridly titled horror films of which he knew. Though the film cannot quite live up to the promise of its title (and really how could it) it does stand as mad of an Italian tea party as has been filmed.
The film opens with a bug eyed man fleeing from a mental institute, which is as apt a way to start the film as any. This is Lord Albert Cunningham who escapes the asylum and returns to his crumbling ruin of a castle where he works through the grief of his wife Evelyn’s recent betrayal and death by kidnapping buxom redheads and killing them in his customized torture chamber. Well people handle grief in different ways... Just as we’re settling in for a good ole fashioned, “Crazed Aristocracy murders the plebians” picture the film abruptly switches gears (a phrase you’ll come by a lot in Italian Horror) and suddenly the film decides that Cunningham is a tragic hero. He marries a young blonde in an attempt to curb his murderous impulses (marking the one time in horror film history that being blonde has actually prolonged a woman’s life) and in doing so may or may not have raised the irate Evelyn from her, well you know it’s right there in the title.
Let’s see gloved killers, J&B whiskey, crushed velvet suits, incongruous hippie bands, a smattering of live burials, yep it’s a gialli all right. The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave neatly checks all the boxes of genre pleasures. But has enough of its own eccentricities to remain interesting. From the blasé manner in which everyone (and I do mean everyone) overlooks the Lord’s nasty habit of murdering women, the character of a dowager aunt who seems to be all of thirty two, and the fact that the film fits in so many nude fleshy red heads into the proceedings that one has to wonder if the filmmakers were trying to fufill a quota of some sort. Not that I’m exactly complaining.
Indeed The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave, is one of the rare Italian horror films whose mind is truly more on sex than violence. Despite the lurid premise the film’s gore is actually relatively subdued, save one gleefully unhinged scene where a pack of foxes dispose of a body faster than you can say, "Chaos Reigns". Things climax in the best Italian Horror fashion with unhinged plot twist atop unhinged plot twist, creating a spectacle of the best anti logic sort. If you seek the absolute batshit from your Italian horror it won’t disappoint.