Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Requiem for a Vampire (1971)

Requiem for a Vampire was my first Jean Rollin movie, Jean Rollin being a somewhat legendary maker of erotic horror movies from the great age of eurotrash and eurohorror, the 1970s. It’s a strange mixture, with softcore S&M juxtaposed with some remarkably lyrical scenes (like the vampire woman playing the grand piano in the forest), with some fairly cheesy horror sequences and some very effective and very striking images. The opening sequence with the car chase and gunfight involving two young women dressed as clowns is simply superb. The plot is fairly weak. The two young women find a mysterious castle and a graveyard, populated by an ageing vampire and his coven of vampire wannabes. Like most European horror of this period the film relies on images rather than plot, but compared to film-makers like Mario Bava, Jess Franco or Dario Argento Rollin (in this film anyway) doesn’t provide enough consistently strong images and is less successful in sustaining an atmosphere of weirdness. He’s also less adept in maintaining the necessary levels of tension. It’s still an interesting movie, and worth seeing just for that opening sequence.

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