Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Nude Vampire (1970)

THE NUDE VAMPIRE has a lot going for it and is just as enjoyable as other early efforts from Jean Rollin (THE SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES and REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE) and is a masterpiece that I can’t help thinking ends up not getting the love it deserves on account of its low production and bizarre ‘out there’ feel; although it is getting a Blu-ray release this January along with a few other Rollin favorites. 

A mysterious woman, Caroline Cartier, is stalked in the middle of the night by strange pursuers with animal masks. She runs into a well-dressed young gentleman, Pierre, played by Olivier Rollin (Rollin’s half-brother), who senses she is in danger and attempts to help her out but with no such luck, as she is eventually shot by her masked pursuers and carried away to a clubhouse that happens to belong to Pierre's father, Radamante, Maurice Lemaitre, where nicely dressed people seem to aggregate. Concerned, the young man attempts to enter, but he is refused by a gatekeeper who doesn’t let him in without an invitation. 

The appearance of the stalkers in animal masks are an early sign of the ‘no-budget’ feel of the film, but they still manage to be eerily intriguing, and the particular sequence is so visually unique that it is hard not to be interested. During this sequence, the dissonant and screeching violin and a delirious sounding saxophone that can be heard blend into a cacophony at times. The music succeeds in setting an unusual mood that is just as weird as the movie. The violin will sometimes shriek out, resulting in a feeling that is like a slap to the senses. 

When Pierre manages to gain entry to the nocturnal meetings, he finds that what might have been an exclusive private party at his father’s clubhouse turns out to be a meeting ground for a cult that worships the mysterious and alluring woman he met and saw shot on the streets.