Feel like a bit of “ARTSPLOITATION”?
If you’ve never heard of French Director Jean Rollin, you have missed out on some very atmospheric, haunting, nudity and blood-filled – yet somewhat slow-moving – European art-film horror!
Meet Jean Rollin!
Jean Rollin was a French film director, actor, and novelist – best known for his films in the “fantastique” genre, as they say in France. He specialized in atmospheric horror of the 70’s – when relaxed censorship rules in cinema allowed Directors to push the envelope!
In 1968, Jean directed his first feature, his black-n-white film “The Rape of the Vampire”. It’s very European in nature – slow, atmospheric, moody – with limited locations, sets and very long takes.
“Rape Of The Vampire” was the first of a string of moody horror films that should fall under the label of “Artsploitation”, as they mixed lots of blood, sex, nudity and horror with an Independent, European Arthouse sensibility.
Oh, and did I mention that his films were filled with BLOOD!
Time To Discover Some Classic “Artsploitation”!
Thanks to the terrific “Redemption” series of releases – from the “Redemption Films” group – these movies are now available again – and gives each film a newly remastered look, plus tons of extras like documentaries, audio commentaries and trailers – a terrific job. Here are three of Jean Rollin’s most famous efforts!
Requiem For A Vampire
On the run from a reform school, two young women commit crimes dressed as clowns.
Yes, they commit crimes dressed as clowns. How can you argue with that? Here is the clown-filled trailer:
Of course, the two “fleeing female clowns” seek refuge in a haunted castle, and end up trapped with no escape!
Because, as happens too often, this haunted castle is ruled by a hoard of sexy, blood-crazed vampires and their leader, an evil immortal creature who is the last of his kind.
Seeking to reproduce his race, he preys on his innocent victims, however in order to achieve his goal of immortality, the women must remain virgins.
There was no dialogue in the first forty minutes of the films, to simplify the story, direction and cinematography. The mood is atmospheric, and the pacing, as in all Jean Rollin movies an acquired taste, but it is full of unique and at times haunting imagery.
But, for haunting imagery, perhaps nothing can top this:
Considered by many to be the masterpiece of renowned French filmmaker Jean Rollin, “FASCINATION” follows a swaggering thief who hides out in a lavish chateau, holding the female occupants at gunpoint.
You can sense a trend here: Rollin’s films usually involve women who are kidnapped or held against their will – and who wreck revenge against their abductors – usually men. And they always end up in a deserted castle.
Women With A Thirst For Blood!
When night falls, the “Fascination” captor realizes that these two maids are not only deadlier than he imagined, but are gatekeepers to a ring of women with a thirst for blood.
Once again, the film is filled with hynotic imagery like this:
And what I think is his most dynamic image ever captured in one of his films – the blonde on the bridge with the sickle…
This action sequence, while fairly slow moving – it is, as you know, Jean Rollin – this sequence is beautifully done and hypnotic…
Here is part of the sequence:
You must go out and buy this blu-ray to see the entire sequence, the movie as a whole, and all of the terrific extras! Then, you have to see THIS:
The Living Dead Girl
Here is the simple plot: A toxic spill revives a beautiful, dead heiress who, with the help of her childhood friend, must quench her insatiable thirst for blood. Check out the trailer:
“The Living Dead Girl” is a melancholy, moody bloodfest – it is certainly Rollin’s bloodiest film…
But “The Living Dead Girl” is also a love story – the story of two close friends, and how one of them just can’t let the other go – NO MATTER WHAT:
This film is very interesting: it is moody, a bit slow, and very atmospheric – and there is a lot of blood!
And, like all of Jean Rollin’s film, it has lots of nudity as well, but most of it is of a non-sexual nature.
Here is our living dead girl, playing the song that reminds her of her best friend:
Of course, she played it nude. Their friendship in the film is very touching, adding a real sense of melancholy to the film – in and around all of the blood!
Director Jean Rollin died in 2010, but all of these releases have extensive material with him, as he actively participated in these great remasters. He introduces some of the films, takes part in commentaries, and discusses his work with passion and pride.
You can find a great printed interview with the legendary Director here:
Check out his work and let me know what you think!
Categories: Action Films, Exploitation films, Film Noir, Foreign Films, Grindhouse, Horror films, Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Uncategorized