Two young girls get into an argument about a doll-during a vicious cat-fight, their attention is drawn to a painting on the wall of "The Red Queen”. Their exasperated grandfather explains the curse of the Red Queen to the girls-every hundred years the Red Queen returns and kills seven victims before she can return from whence she came.
The opening credits roll, and a delightful main theme from Bruno Nicolai is played over a montage of scenes where one of the girls, Francesca, constantly plays tricks on the other sister Kitty, much to her annoyance.
The film then cuts to the present day, where we are introduced to Kitty(Barbara Bouchet),the other sister, who is now working for a fashion house. Kitty is deeply troubled, and is obviously keeping a dark secret which is causing her to have nightmares and visions.
The owner of the Fashion House is the sleazy Hans Meyer, and it isn’t long before he is murdered in a park whilst trying to procure the services of a prostitute. Before you can say "Blood and Black Lace”, various staff and models from the fashion house are being bumped off left right and centre. Has the Red Queen returned to fulfill her prophecy?
Kitty meanwhile is being blackmailed by a sleazy young man who says he "knows her dark secret”. Kitty gets very upset when people mention her sister, insisting that she is now working abroad.
Another model is murdered, in what is perhaps the films finest scene, when she is knocked unconscious and then stuffed into the back of a van. She tries to escape but is thwarted by the killer, who appears to be wearing a red cloak just like the Red Queen in the painting, and is soon identified as looking just like Francesca, Kitty’s errant sister.
An inheritance subplot is introduced, as is a nod to Poe’s "Black Cat”, and a superb finale involving a room filling with water and a helpless heroine trying to escape is almost reminiscent of "The Perils of Pauline" !
The film doesn’t skimp on the gore either-people are bashed over the head, stabbed in the hand and decapitated(although it has to be said that the head isn’t the most convincing special effect ever laid down on film!!)
This is the only film of Miraglia’s I am aware of, and it’s a pity he didn’t dabble more in the suspense field as "Red Queen" is an excellent thriller in anyone’s book. It is beautifully photographed by Alberto Spagnoli, and contains another consistently excellent score from Bruno Nicolai.
The fashion house setting is lifted from Bava’s excellent Blood and Black Lace, and while "Red Queen" isn’t up to the standards of that masterpiece it is a solid thriller and is well worth tracking down.