The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

Poor Evelyn has a history as ridiculous as it’s plot, and at times as hard to follow, but unfairly neglected and often resigned to the “50 Greatest Horror Films for a £1” DVD collections, with shoddy transfers, it’s overlooked and forgotten. A film that takes some time and appreciation to properly enjoy. You sip it slow and allow it’s insanity to take you where it wants to go.

When you are staring down the winding tale that is Evelyn, you require someone who can tackle a beast, and the captain of the good ship Satanic Pandemonium, kindly stepped up to the challenge. 

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The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

by Samm Deighan of Satanic Pandemonium

Emilio Miraglia, 1971

Starring: Anthony Steffen, Marina Malfatti, Erika Blanc

La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba aka The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is the first giallo film from director Emilio Miraglia. Though lesser known alongside giallo greats like Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Sergio Martino, and Umberto Lenzi, Miraglia’s first film will likely delight giallo lovers but probably confuse the hell out of everyone else.

An English lord, Alan, was recently released from a mental hospital after a breakdown over his wife Evelyn’s death. His obsession with Evelyn has not abated and he spends his time trolling bars and clubs looking for red headed women that resemble his wife to come home to his isolated castle and spend the night. But these trysts all result in torture and murder. He has to pay off his wife’s brother, the groundskeeper, to keep silent and attempts a seance that summons Evelyn’s ghost but results in another minor collapse. His doctor convinces him he should marry again and he meets the blonde Gladys. For a time he is happy with her, but Evelyn’s ghost begins to appear around the castle and drives Alan back to the brink of insanity. Gladys finds Evelyn’s tomb empty and strange murders begin to occur around the castle. Is Evelyn back to take her revenge on Alan?

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The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is an entertaining blend of genres and presents a series of intertwining murder mysteries constantly folding and unfolding upon themselves. With that said, the winding plot is far from perfect and will likely confuse giallo newbies. While the genre in general isn’t known for its linear or rational plots, Evelyn is something else entirely. Some scenes drag on too long, where as others cut away without fully explaining events. Though there are many beautiful set pieces, the film is a little choppy and the plot doesn’t really care about making much sense. If you’ve seen a lot of giallo films, this isn’t going to interfere with your enjoyment of the film too much.

NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE Screen caps DVD (165)

Part of the confusion is due to the fact that Miraglia blends a number of genres together. This begins as a fairly routine Euro-horror serial killer film a la The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962), Bava’s Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), or even the ridiculous Night of a Thousand Cats (1972), where a series of beautiful women are whisked away to a castle or mansion to be murdered. It rapidly turns into a ghost story with the seance and sightings of Evelyn’s ghost around the castle. The plot eventually morphs into a more giallo-like construction and picks up some genre tropes along the way, including twist after twist after twist.

NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE Screen caps DVD (174)

If you have the patience for it, the bizarre story is actually in the film’s favor and there aren’t a lot of other gialli with the sheer number of fun twists. Though there are some murders early on, courtesy of Alan, things don’t really kick off till the second half of the film. Evelyn isn’t particularly gory, but includes such unexpected deaths as a woman being fed to a cage full of prized foxes. There are some lovely, surreal visuals with plenty of shots of semi-nude women running through graveyards and one great scene where a stripper, played by the lovely Erika Blanc, rises from a coffin to begin her macabre striptease act. And let’s not forget the wacky ending that involves a swimming pool full of acid.

Unlike other genre directors, Emilio Miraglia for some reason did not make a lot of giallo films even though he started fairly early – Evelyn came out the same year as one of Dario Argento’s earliest films, The Cat O’Nine Tails (1971). As with Mario Bava’s Baron Blood (1972), this is a mix of giallo tropes and Gothic horror, set in a menacing castle in the woods complete with a mouldering crypt and a torture chamber. It also borrows from Bava’s Hatchet for the Honeymoon, as both films center around insane protagonists who murder women because of complicated relationship with their wives, who may or may not be dead and who possibly linger in the form of malignant spirits.

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The uneven cast makes it difficult to really sympathize with anyone and, unlike the films of Dario Argento or Sergio Martino, Evelyn lacks a charismatic protagonist. Part of the problem is that we are simply unsure who to trust. Spaghetti western regular Anthony Steffen does a decent job as Alan, though it’s difficult to rise above a character that is depicted as insane for much of the film. Marina Malfatti (All the Colors of the Dark, Miraglia’s other giallo The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, and more) is icy and reserved, but looks beautiful whether she is screaming in terror or plotting diabolically. She also wears increasingly racy lingerie and is barely clothed for much of the film. The cast is rounded out by Enzo Tarascio (The Conformist) as Alan’s conniving cousin, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (The Last Man on Earth) as his psychiatrist, and Erika Blanc (Kill Baby, Kill) as a particularly memorable victim.

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Overall The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is recommended for giallo lovers or at least seasoned Italian horror fans. The film is available uncut on DVD from Eclectic or in the Emilio Miraglia Killer Queen box set with The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.

It is also screening on Halloween at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave will conclude a day full of horror related talks with film historian Jonathan Rigby, film genre programmer Josh Saco, Professor Peter Hutchings, Associate Professor Ian Olney, and Dr Antonio Lázaro-Reboll.

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Ashtray Dirt 15

Kicking off with a sad point, director and writer Jose Ramon Larraz passed away this week. Best known for 1975 release Vampyres, Larraz also directed Whirlpool, The Coming of Sin and Black Candles. He was 84…

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The full line up for the London Film Festival has been announced. Films playing include Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, Alfonso Cauron’s Gravity and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. The festival’s ‘Cult’ strand will also play host to The Sacrament, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, Grand Piano and All Cheerleaders Die. The full line up can be read on the official website

One Way Static Records have put up their release of the Last House On The Left soundtrack by David Hess for pre-sale. Formats include vinyl, cassette and digital…

Arrow have announced their November releases. Coming to Blu-ray will be Wes Craven’s The People Under The Stairs, Rabid Dogs aka Kidnapped, Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Cinema Paradiso. All are available for pre-order…

cooties

The first image for horror-comedy Cooties has dropped. Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, written by Ian Brennan and Leigh Whannell and starring Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson and Alison Pill, Cooties is slated for a 2014 release…

It’s yet to be released, but it seems that Eli Roth is already working on a sequel to The Green Inferno. Titled Beyond The Green Inferno, Roth is likely to produce the feature and hinted that Nicolas Lopez (Aftershock) might direct…

David Cronenberg’s Shivers is getting the remake treatment, with Dutch director Rie Rasmussen apparently at the helm…

On the subject of remakes, a trailer has dropped for the new Robocop reboot…

Welsh horror film festival Abertoir have announced their participation in Wales After Dark. Part of the BFI’s Gothic Season, Wales After Dark will see  genre screenings and events happening across the country. A line up of the different events can be found here

This month with Cigarette Burns

So the season of the witch is upon us, and normally Cigarette Burns attempts to shy away from the the rather obvious calling that this month brings. But not this year. This year we’re embracing October, and making the most out of the 31 days.

Albeit, with a focus on the final third of the month.

First, continuing in the spirit of our first Halloween spectacular, when we screened a distinctly non Halloweeny film, Heathers, we’re rolling up to the Rio in Dalston with none other than he epic 80s breakdance film – Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

I know what you’re thinking, how is this Halloweeny? It’s not. And that’s the point. All month the world will be over run with Horror films. It’s a bit like New Years Eve. Professionals don’t need New Years Eve as an excuse to get drunk, they are professionals, and do it all the time. So Cigarette Burns doesn’t need Halloween to screen Horror films, we know how to do that already, this is one for the party people.

So we’ll see you at the Rio Cinema on 20th October, more details here

Earlier this year, we were approached by the lovely folks at the Leicester Square Theatre and asked if we would like to take part in their inaugural Halloween festival, the 13th Hour Horror Festival, a selection of theatre, comedy, spoken word, film and more to help us all along through this lovely month. Well, far be it from us to turn down a wonderful offering, and so we came up with two contributions. The first of which is….

Psycho v Psycho

Now Gus Van Sant’s version of Psycho has received almost nothing but disdain, and abuse, personally, I’ve always felt that was incredibly unfair. Van Sant was at the height of his career when he decided to film Psycho. Having just finished Good Will Hunting to a fair amount of acclaim, the world, as they say, was his oyster. He could do no wrong. So he thought he test that theory…. He went back to his arthouse roots and decided to subvert the master, question his authority. What exactly made a film great? Was it the actors? The script? The director? What?

Van Sant did the unthinkable and remade Psycho. Line for line, and shot for shot.

Or did he?

Never before have the two films been presented to an audience side by side in a direct comparison. So that’s exactly what Cigarette burns is doing.

We have 4 small screens suspended above the audience showing GVS’s version and one main screen showing Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. The audio will be Hitchcock, but the fun will be for you to decipher exactly what GVS was doing. Was he mad? Or was he playing Hollywood at their own game? Having sat through test runs of this truly mind melting experiment, I can tell you that watching them simultaneously is fascinating and hypnotic, your eyes flitting between the two screens and picking out the most minute differences.

Prepare to see Psycho as you’ve never seen it before.

Pyscho v Psycho is for one night only, 25th October, more details here

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, we have decided that those carpeted floors are not enough for us, we shall now tread upon the boards, as Cigarette Burns presents The Hallowe’en Sessions –

Taking advantage of the Leicester Square Theatre’s actual purpose, you know, it being a theatre and all, it seemed obvious that a play would be best suited for this environment. But CB being CB, a normal play just won’t do. Let’s roll out the Amicus style anthology. But perhaps something genuinely dark and unsettling, the sort of thing that makes one worry late at night when they are walking up the stairs and the light switch is just out of reach.

Enter Kim Newman‘s Dr. Myra Lark, played by none other than Sarah Douglas, as she tries to find out exactly what is troubling her five inmates, we slowly realise, all is not as it seems.

Directed by Sean Hogan, of Devil’s Business fame, written by a formidable sextet, including Kim Newman (Anno Dracula, Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles), Stephen Volk (The Awakening, Gothic, Ghost Watch), Anne Billson (Suckers, Stiff Lips) Paul McAuley (Fairyland, the Quiet War trilogy), Maura McHugh (Jennifer Wilde, Roisin Dubh) and director Sean Hogan (The Devil’s Business, Little Deaths), and starring  Sarah Douglas (Superman 2, Conan the Destroyer), Pollyanna McIntosh (Exam, The Woman), Billy Clarke (The Devil’s Business, Hunger), Daniel Brocklebank (The Hole, Little Deaths), Holly Lucas (Little Deaths, Holby City), Joshua Mayes-Cooper(Doctors, Outpost 11) and Grace Ker (‘Madame Edwarda’).

The Hallowe’en Sessions runs from 29th October to the 3rd November, with special Q&A sessions on both the 2nd and 3rd. More details here and tickets here

October will be a busy month for everybody, but we hope to see you at some, or even all of the above.

Who Can Kill A Child? (¿Quién Puede Matar a un Niño?)



Few films are as dark and unforgiving as Who Can Kill A Child?

Sadly unknown, one of those films that falls behind the dresser, cherished by the dust and those that know it’s there, but forgotten, overlooked and ignored by all the rest.

A Spanish production but the two main characters are native English speakers, a Aussie and an English woman, so while the locals they encounter on their, supposedly, relaxed Spanish holiday speak, well Spanish, the majority of the film is spoken English. In and of itself an oddity.

A slow burner, but like the warmest of fires, it may take a while to get there, but once it’s there… it’s a scorcher!

One not easily forgotten.

Unreleased in the digital age until 2007 and again in 2010, both fairly limitedly and quietly, building a vocal and passionate fanbase, Who Can Kill a Child is now due to be released fully uncut in the UK from Eureka on 23rd May.

But you can see it with us, for the first time fully uncut in the UK on the 14th May at the Rio Cinema.

Ms. 45 – Monthly Film Bulletin review by Kim Newman

Found, tucked in a box in Tony Paley‘s attic was this little gem, a cover story on the 1984 video release of our upcoming feature, Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45 – Angel of Vengeance. And so, culled from the pages of the BFI’s long running Monthly Film Bulletin, since merged with Sight & Sound is Kim Newman’s review:

Spoiler WARNING!


Ms. 45: Angel of Vengeance
U.S.A., 1980
Director: Abel Ferrara-

Thana, a mute girl who works as a seamstress in Manhattan’s garment district, is attacked and raped by a masked thug while walking home. When she reaches her apartment, she finds it being rifled by a housebreaker who also tries to rape her. Defending herself with a paper weight and an electric iron, Thana kills him, then carves up the body and stores it in the fridge for gradual disposal. While on one of her dumping expeditions, she is accosted by a street punk whom she promptly shoots dead with the burglar’s .45. Later, a pushy photographer tries to pick Thana up with hollow promises of a career in modelling, and she returns with him to his studio before shooting him. Thana’s boss Albert and gay/feminist workmate Laurie become increasingly worried about her erratic behaviour and moodiness. By night, stalking the city in a whorish outfit, she continues her crusade, gunning down various sexists-a violent pimp, a kerb-crawling Arab, and a threatening street gang. While she is trying to execute a barfly who has been lamenting his wife’s infidelity, Thana finds that the gun has jammed, whereupon the victim takes it from her and shoots himself. Albert prevails upon Thana to accompany him to a Halloween party, during which he intends to seduce her. He finds her gun concealed under a fancy dress nun’s habit, and she shoots him. She proceeds to pick off all the men in the room, but is stopped when Laurie stabs her in the back. Unable to shoot a woman, she utters a single word (“sister”) and dies.


While it is undeniably true that the splatter/nasty genre, in its treatment of female flesh as meat to be carved, tends to exhibit a particularly unpleasant brand of sadistic sexism, the form does contain possibilities for militant feminism unmatched even by the likes of A Question of Silence or Born in Flames. In I Spit on Your Grave, the leader of a gang of degenerate rapists is allowed to express to the heroine the theory that, by wantonly displaying her body, she has “asked for” her violation. His uncharacteristic intellectualising of the issue is immediately undercut by the most physical retort possible -the girl castrates him in the bath and leaves him bleeding to death. With The Driller Killer, his first feature, Abel Ferrara acknowledged the sexism of the splatter movie by explicitly avoiding it, presenting a psycho whose preferred victims were not desirable young women but undesirable old men. In Ms .45 (a film whose very title has proved too much for many audiences), Ferrara, aided by the presence of the extraordinary Zoe Tamerlis, gives a rigorously feminist reading of the always problematic revenge-for-rape genre. The film signals the seriousness with which it will tackle the subject in its treatment of the initial rapes. While the incidents are profoundly shocking, they horrify mainly because of their abruptness (at least in the currently available, slightly trimmed version) and the monstrosity of the performances. Ferrara, who appears as the first rapist under his Jimmy Laine pseudonym and pops up throughout the film in nightmare flashes as the incarnation of masculine evil, presents the two unconnected assailants as merely less restrained examples of the _ attitudes espoused, not only by the chattering street people who proposition every passing woman, but by the smooth-talking photographer, the paternally lecherous Albert, and the shoe salesman who proudly admits that he reacted to the discovery of his wife’s bisexuality by strangling the cat. With such a relentless parade of unsympathetic male characters, the film has little need of explicit sexual violence to make its points. The complete absence of nudity, and the remarkably soft-pedalled violence, compare strikingly with I Spit on Your Grave-which drags out the rape sequence for over half its running time–or even with such mainstream, male-oriented versions of the same basic story as Hannie Caulder, Death Weekend and Sudden Impact.
A Polanski connection suggested by the decaying rabbit in The Driller Killer is furthered here by a few clutching hands and a body in the bath out of Repulsion, and by Tamerlis’ resemblance to the Nastassia Kinski” of Tess. However, while Polanski cannot refrain from making fetishes of his striking heroines, Ferrara presents Tamerlis’ Thana as a neutral figure whose power over her victims derives from her ability to inspire and then contradict their fantasies of femininity. In the case of the shoe salesman, who pours out the story of his marriage to the mute girl in a bar, the moment of Thana’s failed attack on him coincides with his own dawning awareness of his shortcomings; hypnotised by her silent reproach, he acquiesces in his own execution. The usual escape clause in the genre has the raped woman turning into an avenger by assuming masculine qualities (Raquel Welch learning gunfighter skills in Hannie Caulder, Brenda Vaccaro exhibiting her un-womanly technical aptitude in Death Weekend, Sondra Locke competing with Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact). But Ferrara has Thana become more seductively feminine in appearance as she transforms into a feminist vigilante. The reductio ad absurdum of this process-and indeed of the whole genre -finds Thana murdering such varied male stereotypes as Count Dracula, a cowboy and a drag bride, while incarnated as a furious, gun-toting nun.

KIM NEWMAN


We will be hosting a rare London screening of Ms. 45 at the Rio Cinema in Dalston on 19th March. You don’t want to miss this!

(Extra thanks to Tony’s lovely wife for the scans)

Equinox and beyond…

What were you doing at age 17? Fast Forwarding through a VHS of Eurotrash to the saucy bits? Searching for a pub that ignored your fresh face and served you without ID? Or were you, like the makers of Equinox, applying the German holistic-art concept of gesamtkunstwerk to stop-motion animation? In 1962, accomplished pianist, student of classical literature, precocious little shit, and special effects enthusiast, David Muren joined an effects-nerd collective advertised in the back of influential American magazine Famous Monsters Of Filmland. Together with part time film journo Mark McGee and animator Dave Allen, Muren and gang experimented with various effects in their back garden for years. Honing their skills before finally deciding (via an injection of cash that was due to be spent on Mullen‘s education) to make the leap into making a full length feature.


Armed with a 16mm Bolex camera, a crew of friends and a script by cthulu-nut McGee they set out into the woods and over the next 2 and a half years of weekends, school holidays and light evenings, they filmed the story of a wholesome group of young kids who head out for a lovely day in the country, get given an evil book by a cackling old man (Mullen‘s Grandad), which then unleashes creatures from the very pits of hell. These hell-pit creatures were then constructed and lovingly animated in a makeshift studio in Mullen‘s dad’s shed: making The Equinox… A Journey into the Supernatural, quite literally, a Backyard production.


Although intended as a way to exercise their special effects skills, and perhaps get a few bucks from a late night horror tv show, The Equinox… A Journey into the Supernatural was spotted by Jack H Harris, producer of The Blob, who saw the marketability of the kids vs. demons flick, and got his mate Jack Woods, a professional sound editor, to shoot some extra footage to pad out the film to a sell able length. He added and edited in a whole new plot line about a creepy mounted policeman, starring himself as the leering law man.
This new fuller version of the film had the title shortened to just Equinox and went on to be a success on the drive-in circuit.


While a little-watched film, Equinox‘s legacy is undeniable. Mullen went on to revolutionise special effects, working as visual effects supervisor on the Abyss, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park and all pivotal films in the development of CGI, and shaping many of our childhoods, working on the visual effects for the proper Star Wars trilogy and E.T. He won 6 Oscars and is the only effects artist to have a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Dave Allen went on and had a career producing fantastic, and characterful, stop motion such as the little Batteries Not Included aliens, the Young Sherlock Holmes graveyard confectionery attack, the Puppet Master‘s puppets and the Demonic Toys. McGee carried on writing and directing genre fare such as Sorority Party Massacre II and Bad Girls From Mars.


Of the four main stars, only Frank Bonner, the slightly more devil-may-care male lead, carried on working in show business. He made himself a healthy acting career with various American TV sitcoms, including a regular gig as one of Screech’s fellow teachers on Saved By The Bell: The New Class. Jack Woods went back to sound editing and ended up working on such sequels as Critters 2, Look Who’s Talking Too and Naked Gun 2 1/2

But legacy: Schmagacy. Is this flick worth a watch or what?

Fuck yes.


Even if you are not charmed by the effects of yesteryear there is still tons to enjoy. The characters were obviously created by a bunch of bookish young men with little real world experience. The men in Equinox, tackle the increasingly bizarre situations with hilariously stoic good sense while the women are pretty young things who will wander off and get into trouble when there’s not a man around to tell them what to do. Evil Dead fans will have a field day. With it’s teenagers find necrotelecomunicony thing and unleash all manner of terrors plot, Equinox can easily be viewed as a prequel. Deadites will also see echoes of Sam Raimi‘s camera work in some of the scenes, most obviously in an early crucifix-related freakout scene early in the picture.

So, whether you want Evil Dead 0.5, a chance to see hoe today’s top FX bods got started, or just an enjoyably clunky creature feature, Equinox will show you a good time.

Join us as we visit this classic tomorrow evening at the Mucky Pup.