The Rape of the Vampire (1968)

I watched this last night because I wanted something completely unlike Avatar, and damn me if I didn’t get exactly what I was looking for. I watched it again this afternoon, and as a result I have a better idea of what’s happening and who’s doing it, if not always why. This is so… other that it makes Mr Romero’s Martin look comparatively classical. I have taken something of a plunge on the new Jean Rollin DVDs, and I suspect I’m in for an interesting ride with these. This was an astounding way to kick off one’s career, and the DVD booklet describes an amazingly ad hoc production… Rollin was hired by a producer to add footage to a film from the 1940s he’d somehow got the rights to, Rollin started shooting, somewhere along the way all copies of the script just vanished, and when Rollin was finished the producer gave him more money to turn his new footage into a film by itself and make it however he wanted as long as it had nudity in it. The end result, let’s face it, looks like what it was: a low-budget debut feature starring a bunch of people who’d never been in a film before (and some who never would again), directed by someone whose only prior experience was a handful of shorts and an unfinished feature but who had a particular vision of what he wanted to do even if he didn’t quite know how to get it (or quite have the resources). In short, it is genuinely singular stuff; not only is it the polar opposite in many ways of that James Cameron film I’d watched shortly before it last night, it’s the opposite of an awful lot of films. I may be slightly in love with it, and now I’m really looking forward to exploring the Rollin oeuvre; if this and Requiem are indicative, he could be my great belated discovery for this year…

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