The Rape of the Vampire
This bizarre, surrealistic erotic-horror film was the first feature by cult director Jean Rollin. There's a great deal of sex, blood, and arty imagery but very little plot to speak of. What plot there is primarily focuses on a pair of insane vampiric sisters who believe that they are cursed by a black Queen Vampire who wears a salamander headband and carries a broadsword.
Really love the opening short, not as much the final two-thirds that Rollin attached in order to sell the thing.
Maybe it was because I was pretty tired whilst watching but I lost track of what was going on at one point, but no matter.
Rollin's debut feature plays like a surrealistic art house piece with tropes of a silent-era film from 50 years previous. Well acted & edited it is not, but different it certainly is. This is pretty whacked-out stuff.
Four sisters living in a rural French town are the subject of legend as they are believed to be ageless vampires. So when a psychoanalyst and his friends visit to try to convince them they are not actually vampires, but brainwashed individuals, things comes crashing head first when the Queen of the Vampires intervenes and legend may indeed be fact.
Jean Rollin's first feature vampire film is a beautifully photographed black and white tale of madness and myth that oozes atmosphere. Because the untrained cast and crew all lost their scripts two days into shooting, the film's linear narrative becomes a jumbled nightmare halfway through and the fever dream experimentalism takes hold as if the blood is slowing draining out of the viewer, causing a hazy and spiralling glimpse into the world of Rollin's vampires as his unique style and take solidifies in front of your eyes.
Stockings. Shimmering dress. Queen’s quite feline. Mark looking like Prince Vince during the car chase.
Considering this is Jean Rollin’s first film, it is easy to forgive some of the shortcomings. There is a lot of potential in “The Rape of The Vampire,” so being aware of the film’s background is helpful. Many of the special features cover the obstacles this feature faced and it seems to be a huge stepping stone of growth for Rollin as a filmmaker. The audio and video presentation are both outstanding. The fairly new Redemption series from Kino doesn’t simply give viewers a taste of repertory cinema, it gives an education. So far, the presentations and supplemental material rivals Criterion in quality and substance. “The Rape of The Vampire” is difficult to recommend given the off balance nature of the feature, but Rollin and Redemption completests will find this disc worthy of a space on the shelf. Read the full review here...www.theaterthoughts.com/?p=3612
Jean Rollin's first film is a bizarre, nonsensical tale of a psychiatrist who tries to convince four vampires that they are actually just mentally ill, while they are convinced they are ageless creatures of the night who were once raped by the villagers. A mostly experimental work, it presages Rollin's penchant for surrealism in later films. There are some great shots to be found here, but the film itself is a mess.