Catching up with the Loose Cannons podcast, I finally got around to watching the subject of their Halloween episode, The Lady In Red Kills Seven Times.
When people around a young fashion photographer named Kitty (Barbara Bouchet) start dropping like flies, she wonders if it really is her family curse (where an ancestor referred to as The Red Queen comes back from the dead every hundred years to take seven lives) or just someone trying to angle in on her family inheritance.
This was a great giallo that easily makes into the upper echelon of the dozens that are out there. It has pretty much everything you could ask for, an interesting looking killer (a figure in a white mask and red cloak) a score from one of the greats, Ennio Morricone and a wonderfully stylish look. The latter you would expect, of course, but I love how space is used in this film. Everything is wide open, whether it be something dramatic like this;
or just the layout of someone's apartment. It's all so beautifully cinematic.
It also wouldn't be a giallo without a convoluted plot, of which The Lady has in spades. I think there are more characters in this than Blood & Black Lace and Bay of Blood combined. I'm exaggerating, but it is extremely difficult to keep this bevvy of beauties straight without a score card. Apart from the striking Barbara Bouchet (who also appeared in Lucio Fulci's awesome Don't Torture A Duckling and Silvio Amadio's Amuck that features one of my fave lines ever in “that woman is a mystery I'd rather not solve!”) and a young Sybil Danning, the rest run together in a haze of seventies hairstyles.
|Barbara Bouchet as Kitty Wildenbrück in The Lady In Red Kills 7 Times|
Regardless of whether you may always be following what the hell's going on, you will never be bored. There are several great murder scenes in this, one including a fence spire and another of someone getting curbed – although not quite as well executed as when Dario Argento did it three years later in Profondo Rosso. I'd say the only thing I didn't like was a super unnecessary rape that got thrown in, almost as an afterthought. It's gross and also makes the next scene fairly comical when the assailant approaches Kitty saying, “I know who the killer is! Hey, why are you running away??”
So, if you like gialli, this is definitely a must watch because, well, it has all of the things that make them great. It also has a colour in the title which is kind of a prerequisite.
|Handy giallo title generator.|