The Rape of the Vampire (1968)

IMDB
Available on Netflix streaming, as of 9/7/2012
On DVD and Blu-ray via Amazon

Notable French horror auteur, Jean Rollin, made his debut with this fever dream of a film.

Originally composed of two short episodes, the combined effort is a benchmark of 1960’s experimentation. Full of fantastic and nightmarish visuals, but inconsistent and at times, incoherent plot, Le viol du vampire is impossible to look away from.

Much like David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, the film probably plays better if you give up trying to figure out the motivations of the large cast of characters and just allow the imagery of the film to carry you along from scene to scene.

There’s a harsh and stark beauty to this film that will stick with you long after viewing and you’ll find yourself amazed at how much was achieved with unusual camera angles and simple sets.

While the first thought might be to try and compare this film to the Gothic masterpieces of Hammer Films, there’s more of a punk rock feel to this film. It lacks the subtlety and seductiveness of Hammer and has a raw unpolished air about it that only comes from a first time director.

Casual viewers interested in Rollin’s work are probably better off starting with his later films, but anyone interested in a great goth inspired nightmare, will enjoy a peek into the beginnings of one of horror’s more unique visionaries.

-C I


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