According to exploitation legend, the story of Fascination started when Jean Rollin imagined two turn-of-the-century women dancing, and indeed that is the image that opens the film. The women are Elizabeth (Franca Mai) and Eva (Brigitte Lahaie), two of a circle of noblewomen, led by Hélène (Fanny Magier), who have developed a taste for human blood and lure unsuspecting men to their midnight ceremonies. Into their clutches wanders Marc (Jean-Marie Lemaire), a thief on the run from the partners he’s double-crossed. In short, it’s pretty much lesbian vampire story 1A.
So, The Nude Vampire: Dr Radamante (Maurice Lemaître) and his colleagues (Bernard Musson, Jean Aron) are evil scientists (is there any other kind), holding a young woman they believe to be a vampire (Caroline Cartier) hostage. For some reason, their plan involves a suicide cult, people in animal masks, interpretive dance, and girls in strange costumes. I’m sure it would have all played into their master plan, except before it can come to fruition, the vampire girl escapes, right into the arms of Radamante’s son, Pierre (Olivier Rollin). She’s recaptured, but not before piquing young Pierre’s curiosity.
Unlike Jess Franco, who — as regular readers will remember — has regressed as director, Jean Rollin seems to have quietly grown into an accomplished auteur. His penultimate film, La nuit des horloges (“the night of the clocks”), is an artistic tour de force and by far the best Rollin film I’ve seen. Indeed, by far the best exploitation film I’ve seen in a long while.
Written by Kalle on Monday April 18, 2011
Rape of the Vampire is French exploitation auteur Jean Rollin’s first feature-length film, for which he received financing after a producer saw Rollin’s short film of the same name. Rollin shot a second part, slapped it together with the original short and the result is what is reputedly the first French vampire film. Because of the strike and student protests in May 1968, French distributors froze new releases, which meant that Rape of the Vampire became the most successful French movie of that year. I’m sure Rollin would agree with Homer Simpson, that the two most beautiful words in the English language are “de” and “fault”.
In this Rollin classic, Catherine (Françoise Blanchard) is raised from the dead by a toxic spill, and returns to her old home, where, protected by her childhood “blood sister”, Hélène (Marina Pierro), she goes on a killing spree.