With the central plot, Rollin carries over a characteristic theme he’s used frequently in his other films: two inseparable female companions who are like kindred souls with a sisterly connection. Sometimes they are lovers, twins, or, in this case, childhood friends with a bond made in blood, and the main emphasis is the tenderness and strength of this connection. With The Living Dead Girl, Rollin fantasizes about what would happen if death were to come between this unbreakable bond between the lead characters, Catherine (Blanchard) and Helene (Marina Pierro). There becomes this obsession with preserving the past that ends up being unhealthy and spiritually debilitating for all involved, as it seems more and more hopeless for Catherine to continue on the way she is; her hunger for blood causes her to suffer, and she comes to the realization that she is evil and regrets being a living dead girl. The conditions needed to satiate Catherine’s hunger ultimately corrupt Helene.
Despite the impressive gore on display, The Living Dead Girl is still a fairly languid film. The languid feel nonetheless parallels Catherine’s slow and gradual return to the land of the living, as she makes her way back home to her childhood castle, after being brought back to life, where precious memories of her and Helene begin to surface. Her appearance as a lady in white is both mystifying and a good excuse to splatter her with red. Also, the comical American tourist couple, played by Mike Marshall and Carina Barone, who are used to break up monotony and add comic relief, may not be to everyone’s liking.
Not everyone’s going to love it, but this film does stand out amongst Rollin’s work due to its genuine delivery of a violent and gory Shakespearean tragedy that should leave viewers with a new notion of an emotional impact that gore can have.
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