The Shiver of the Vampires (Le Frisson des Vampires)

In the history of DVD releases of classic European Erotic Horror, Redemption’s releases featuring the work of Jean Rollin have been among the most impressive. Immoral Tales, the legendary book by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs, provided a great introduction to many modern viewers and with many of his films being solid example of blending the erotic, artistic, and Gothic, it’s clear to see why his work has always had an audience through the years. Before the DVD releases, very few of his films received a Stateside release, with Requiem for a Vampire being released by Exploitation legend Box Office International as Caged Virgins (I think the Virgins and Vampires aka was also theirs. BOI had a thing with changing the titles through The 70’s), and it’s highly recommended, while this 1970 classic had to wait for a 1978 US release through the little known Clark Film Releasing, based in Jacksonville FLA, one of the many Sub Distributors in The States that focused on Independent Horror and Exploitation.

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Following a opening scene of a funeral with our leading ladies in attendance and some great shots of them walking through the castle, the viewer is offered the final touch to the story. Isa (or Isle) and Antoine (Sandra Julien and Jean-Marie Druand) A couple on their honeymoon ride off to the castle, and it’s known that the bride has a couple of cousins there, but we find out that they are the ones who were buried at the start of the film. After being greeted by the two beautiful silent orphans, played Kuelan Herce and the legendary Marie-Pierre Castel (A very familiar face in Rollin films), the bride goes to the graveyard and is greeted by Isabelle (Nicole Nancel), and the viewer learns a little about the history.

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When Isle is met by Isolde (Dominique), she finally learns of the happenings of the cult at the castle, and from there on, the focus is mainly on hypnotic imagery and eroticism. She also meets up with her cousins who turn out to be two vampires who oversee the goings on. As the cousins, Jacques Robiolles and Michel Delahaye provide great support to the story, appearing in classic Hippie Occultist style, while the music by Acanthus sounds like a classic case of making up some catchy jams in the studio as the film plays (I hear a bit of a ’67-’68 Pink Floyd influence in their work).

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In classic style, we know where the story is headed. The luckless husband finds out that his wife is inducted into the cult, and is no longer with him. After some chasing around, he finally finds them all at the best when the sun is about to show up, and with the group disappearing, Antoine is left running through crying out for Isle to return to him, all too late.

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The DVD is a definitive presentation of one of Rollin’s best films, with every scene having a screencap-worthy moment. This is one of the finest erotic EuroHorrors around. The luck in finding great looking places, as well as the skill in creating beautiful imagery with them, is on show here, proving Rollin’s style as classic. Those who go for a seductive Gothic world should check this out immediately.

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~ by screen13 on July 18, 2009.

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