• Queens Of Evil (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: March 9th, 2021.
    Director: Tonino Cervi
    Cast: Haydee Politoff, Silvia Monti, Evelyn Stewart, Ray Lovelock, Gianni Santuccio
    Year: 1970
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    Queens Of Evil – Movie Review:

    When Tonino Cervi’s 1970 film, Queens Of Evil, begins, a young man named David (Ray Lovelock), a bit of a hippie type, is riding his motorcycle through some pastoral scenery and enjoying the night time ride when he runs across a stranded motorist. The older man’s Rolls Royce has a flat tire and, as David fixes it for the man, he’s lectured about responsibility. When the man drives off, it’s too late for David to realize that while he was fixing the car, the man punctured David’s own tire. David, understandably upset over this, chases after the man. The car crashes and the older driver is killed.

    Not too keen on having to deal with the cops, David takes off down a dark road into a dense forest until he comes across a barn where he decides to spend the night. When he wakes up the next morning he’s surprised to see three gorgeous young women, the residents of the beautiful mansion nearby. He learns that the three women are named Liv (Haydee Politoff), Samantha (Silvia Monti) and Bibiana (Evelyn Stewart) and they are only too happy to get to know him, and he they. He decides to hang around for a while and see where things go, and while he enjoys their company in a Biblical sense, he soon wonders what it is that they’re really doing out there in the woods at night.

    Very much a product of its time both thematically and visually, Queens Of Evil is really a bit of a unsung gem and a film that should be better recognized in Eurocult circles than it currently seems to be (hopefully this Blu-ray release will change all of that). It’s an absolutely gorgeous film to look at, beautifully shot and making use of some truly wild locations (full marks to set decorator who put together the décor on display in the mansion!), full of fantastic color schemes and interesting visual compositions. The film is also set to a really strong score rom Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. It’s also worth noting that Lovelock provides vocals on two songs that are used in the film!

    Thematically the movie is an interesting mix of ideas. There’s definitely a ‘battle of the sexes’ aspect to the storyline as David falls for the various charms that three women use to pull him into their web, but it also takes on the pros and cons of hippie ideology and the free love movement that was in full swing around the time that the movie was made. We see this early on with David’s encounter with the man in the Rolls Royce, an obvious nod to the bourgeoisie class and the wealth establishment, with longhaired, freewheeling David clearly quite the opposite. Lots of food for thought offered by the time the film reaches its fascinating conclusion.

    Performances are pretty strong here. Lovelock is well cast, he looks the part and handles the role without any issues. We buy him in the part and he comes across as likeable enough, which is important given his significance in the storyline. The three lead actresses all do a fine job here as well, each a fetching beauty to be sure, but exuding an appropriately alluring and mysterious presence that works very much in the film’s favor.

    Queens Of Evil – Blu-ray Review:

    Taken from a brand new 4k scan of the original 35mm negative, although a disclaimer before the feature starts alerts us to the fact that in order to present the uncut version, certain scenes had to be sourced from an interior standard definition element which they’ve upscaled to 1080p to match the rest of the footage as best they can. Presented in 1.85.1 widescreen and in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, you can easily tell when the inserts were used but far better to have them here than not to, even if they don’t look as nice as the rest of the film, which thankfully looks really nice. The image is naturally grainy but the detail you’d expect is there, and there’s solid depth here as well. Colors are reproduced really nicely, we get good black levels and skin tones, and there are no issues with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts.

    Audio options are provided in English and Italian language flavors, both tracks in 24-but DTS-HD Mono, with optional subtitles provided that translate the Italian track. While understandably limited in range, both tracks sound fine. There aren’t any issues with hiss or distortion and the levels are balanced throughout.

    Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan start the extra features off with a commentary track that does a nice job of exploring both the themes that the movie deals with and its interesting history. It's a good talk, covering what makes the film stand out as well as similarities it shares with other pictures. They cover Cervi's career in quite a bit of detail and also go over the careers of the different cast members as well. There are some pretty astute observations here about the themes that the film explores as well as notes on the locations, the score, the use of music in the picture and lots more.

    An archival interview with Ray Lovelock, which runs for twenty-seven-minutes in length, covers how he broke into both the movie and the music businesses, recalling stories from his early days in front of the camer and behind the microphone. He talks about some of the films that he worked on throughout his career, including Queens Of Evil, and how some of them did serious box office numbers in international territories. It's pretty interesting stuff and a nice inclusion on the disc.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are two alternate sequences from the French cut of the film, a trailer for the feature, the Mondo Macabro preview reel, menus and chapter selecltion.

    Queens Of Evil - The Final Word:

    Queens Of Evil really should be a better known film in Eurocult circles than it is, and now that it’s available in a proper English friendly edition with a great presentation and a nice selection of extra features, maybe it’ll find the larger fan base that it deserves. Highly recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Queens Of Evil Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      I'm not usually a fan of Lavagnino's scores but he hit it out of the park for this film. Looks like a terrific release. More Haydee Politoff and Silvia Monti in HD is always a good thing.
    1. zag's Avatar
      zag -
      I never have seen this, but sounds great. I like a good 70's eurohorror film. And 3 gorgeous babes, that can't be bad right?