Directed by: Jean Rollin
Written by: Monique Natan, Jean Rollin
Cast: Sandra Julien, Jean-Marie Durand, Jacques Robiolles
Running Time:96 Minutes
UK Certificate: 18
Studio: Redemption – Out Now
Once you get past the minute long, soft core, low definition, logo video for Salvation Films we finally find ourselves at the disc menu. I actually believed that this opening video was the opening to the movie, but no, just a very, very long logo video. Issue #1.
We open our movie in a church yard, heavily coloured in sepia like tones. Two caskets are being carried into a tomb; the only mourner is a woman dressed in a black veil. The opening sequence is very reminiscent of the cold openings from Hammer Studios back catalogue. We cut to too young women sitting in a castle, the pallet has changed dramatically, and gels are used unashamedly. The two women climb the castle tower and we are introduced to two men chained to the wall, both with stakes in their chests. The tallest declares that he must die with the sunlight and the curse of vampirism should end with them. Their main concern is the last two who they passed the curse onto will soon rise from their graves. He tasks the two women with destroying them, but warns if they should fail, they should serve their new masters willingly.
Great start, right? I was very intrigued by this direction; it was fresh enough to keep me viewing. However, this was the opening five minutes, another 90 to go.
We cut to a newlywed couple who happen to be travelling to the castle we visited earlier. The bride, Isabel, is a cousin to the two who were buried at the opening of the movie. When she discovers that her cousin’s are dead, in despair, she opts to sleep alone and is eventually seduced by a female vampire. She remembers nothing of this and it us up to her new husband, Anthony, to find out why she disappears at night, why she can’t remember anything and why her cousins, newly back from the dead are acting incredibly weird.
I was hoping for a film akin to the later Hammer movies, entertaining, yet low on budget and more flesh on show than fangs. Certainly, there was a fair amount of nudity but it felt like it was on show because the filmmakers could get away with it. It is neither artistic nor necessary.
The main issues I have with this movie, by now you may have guessed I’m not a fan, is that it is incredibly poor in script, acting, dubbing and soundtrack. Perhaps once or even twice Director, Rollin, gives the audience a hint of visual flair, but falls very short of the mark. The score, by Acanthus (his only credit on any movie), sounds as if Black Sabbath, at the start of their career, had a jamming session with The Beatles, at the end of their career, sounds good on paper but not to the ears. Audiences will find it intrusive and inappropriate. Characters aren’t allowed to develop and our hero, Anthony, interrupts seemingly important scenes with a voice over on how he feels about what’s happening in that scene. As an audience we don’t know what in god’s name he is referring to, as he interrupted the fricking conversation he’s now discussing!
Sorry. Rant over.
The disc comes with a few extras, trailers, production stills, which are grainy and of very poor quality and our main extra we are treated to, is an interview with director, Rollin. Filmed in 2004, this is possibly the best thing on the disc, a small insight into his works, his long career and why he chose the horror genre, what inspired him and the reason behind his fascination with female vampires especially. The issue’s with this? It was filmed on a low def camera with no external mic. What should have been the highlight of the disc is ruined by the grainy, flat image and audio that is barely audible.
Movie Rating: 1/10