Nothing thrills like a good old story of mysterious castles, baroque decorum, ambiguous ancestors, ghostly silhouettes and centuries-old curses on noble families. So much so that worldwide litterature as well as cinema have seen a proliferation of these stories. That we could categorize, even if it is a little of a shortcut, as embodying the Gothic genre.
In Italian genre cinema, if gothic all'italiana had its highlights - La Maschera del Demonio (Black Sunday), shot by Mario Bava in 1960 is definitely one of them -, there are also a number of counter-examples. Actually, the same Bava would return years later, in 1972, with a much less impressive take on gothic with a contemporary flavour: Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga (Baron Blood).
Because Italian genres, or should we say filone, tend to feed one another, most of the time in extremely interesting ways, it could only happen that Giallo would be at some point mixed with Gothic.
Antonio Margheriti's La Morte Negli Occhi del Gatto (Seven deaths in the cat's eye, 1973) and Emilio Miraglia's two gothic gialli La Notte Che Evelyn Uscì Dalla Tomba (The Night Evelyne Came Out of the Grave, 1971) and La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte (The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, 1972) are just a few examples of this attempt at mixing two lucrative filone.
And probably amongst the less interesting gialli ever made.
Like oil and water, gothic and giallo seem to be utterly unable to mix.
Of course these three films can be noticeable by their photography (but in this particular cinema where aesthetics was more important than anything else, great photography was a given). Yet they consistently fail in maintaining any integrity throughout the storytelling. Even visually, they struggle to reconcile two opposites: the contemporary style of giallo and the baroque of gothic.
As a result, they are unconvincing and quite boring to watch.
Unlike other filone, there seems to be a fundamental contradiction between both genres. Whereas Gothic appeals to centuries-old tales and supernatural to trigger fear, Giallo is extremely contemporary by essence. It is born out of vast concrete cities, of their anonymity, of psychologic disorders, of human perversions. Giallo is all but supernatural. At the contrary, it is rooted in real, daily life.
Giallo is Evil next door. Please get rid of the castle.
If you're still curious to watch them, these films can be found at Blue Underground and NoShame films. Also read Michael Mackenzie's reviews here and there.