Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Venomous Vixens: Mireille Dargent

French actress Mireille Dargent acted in six movies, four of which were for director Jean Rollin. The one she’s most known for is a Rollin film where her presence reverberated inside my memory, ever since I saw it. This film is Requiem for a Vampire, where the sultry redhead appears alongside one-half of the Castel twins, Marie-Pierre Castel. The two actresses play a couple of inseparable lovers, who after escaping some sort of crime heist, curiously dressed as clowns, eventually find themselves in vampire territory. Interestingly enough, we are introduced to this clown couple and their male companion at the start of the film in a high speed chase with guns blazing. After losing their pursuers, their male companion passes away, not surviving his gunshot wound. The two clowns, named Michelle (Dargent) and Marie (Castel), set fire to their car, with the deceased’s body inside of it, before travelling off on foot and on their own. When they wash off the paint and lose their clown getup, it’s revealed, not surprisingly, that there were a couple of attractive girls underneath the clown makeup. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Reincarnation of Isabel (1973)

If ever there was a movie that epitomized the weird, scattered, and strangely erotic nature of Eurohorror the most, that film would most likely be The Reincarnation of Isabel. It’s a work of art where a clear goal-driven narrative seems to have either been purposefully or unknowingly neglected. It’s still a good story but one that is awkwardly told. It may just as well have been that having a story spoon-fed to viewers was of little importance in this case, as director Renato Polselli (Delirium, The Vampire and the Ballerina) might’ve felt he had a lot more to offer by instead unloading his tale of reincarnation in a rather erratic fashion, frequently diverging from the narrative for the sake of overusing the film’s seductive set pieces, with events happening for unclear reasons and moving in unclear directions. It is also nonetheless done with gusto and a unique painterly craftsmanship. Fans of the weird and sexy side of Eurohorror should consider looking to The Reincarnation of Isabel to get their regular fix.

A supposed witch, Isabella (Rita, Nude for Satan, Calderoni), was staked and burned at an altar in front of an attentive mob of villagers. Centuries later, someone or something with a following of cultists and vampires is trying to revive/reincarnate the Great Mistress, Isabella, and they’ll sacrifice as many virgins as it takes for her to live again. Women are turning up dead with their hearts missing and strange bite marks on their necks. It all seems to be connected to a castle that has just been bought and occupied by a Mr. Jack Nelson (Mickey, Bloody Pit of Horror, Hargitay), his wife, and his stepdaughter, Laureen (also played by Calderoni). A special party in celebration of Laureen’s engagement to a local man is underway in the castle, and the epoch involving Isabella’s persecution in the long distant past begins to haunt the inhabitants in erotically bizarre and deadly ways.

What can I say about Rita Calderoni? She’s a delightful and committed lead with very pure good looks. Interestingly enough like in the film Nude for Satan, there are moments where she inexplicably has a single breast exposed without seeming to notice or care that her boob is showing. Seeing her treat us to this provocative sight of her in more than one movie has caused me to consider this look to be her trademark. Calderoni also puts on a convincing performance with her portrayal of the persecuted Isabel. She looks like she went through a lot for us, and it actually looks like it hurts when they drive a stake through her.

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