Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Shiver of the Vampires (1970)

Jean Rollin's 1968 film The Rape of the Vampire was an evocatively shot but incomprehensible mess of a film, and to describe some of the sets as looking "horribly cheap" would be to insult most horribly cheap films.

Two years later, more richly financed - one suspects because "lots of attractive naked ladies" was a sure fire way to win eyeballs, at least before the internet came along - Rollin came up with this offering.

Le Frisson des Vampires, as it was known in the original French, is certainly a more visually opulent movie than its predecessor, not least because Rollin now has access to colour film.  This is something he's clearly quite excited about, as he frequently drenches his shots in blood red lighting.

Such as here, in one of the few shots of these two characters that is appropriate for all ages

There's also a lot more set dressing in evidence this time, though it remains rather amateurish on the whole.  Crudely constructed demonic faces and skulls don't really impress.

Plot-wise, it's more or less your usual "arrive at the old family estate, get seduced by vampires" thing.  The narrative is a lot more comprehensible than that of the earlier film - it's hard to imagine how it could not be - though still plagued by an excess of clumsily portentous dialogue and deliberately odd delivery.  And it is certainly not short of perplexing script moments.  For instance, the vampires are killed by sunlight, but their leader keeps her coffin outdoors.  If this somehow was relevant later I guess I could accept it as clumsy foreshadowing, but it is not.  And then there's the scene where the minion vampires rape their boss - an event which is never mentioned again, and which does not result in any apparent change in their relationship in later scenes.

You probably only need to see this it if you have a thing for crushed velvet outfits or French bosoms, as it offers plenty of both.

No comments:

Post a Comment