SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES
Rollin’s follow-up to La
Vampire Nue eschews the comic book psychedelia of
that film for a more conventional tale of the supernatural, with
an almost classical horror narrative in which a honeymooning couple
(Sandra Julien and Jean-Marie Durand) find themselves staying
at an old family castle. They are told that the wife’s cousins
have passed away, and are surprised to then see them, seemingly
alive and well. It soon becomes clear that they have become vampires,
and are determined to draw their relataive into the cult.
As with most of Rollin’s work, his sympathies lie with the
alleged monsters as much as with the victims, and his story is
a romanticised tale of vampirism, with our living heroes being
drawn into the vampire cult out of love, not malice. And so it’s
unsurprising that he goes for a dreamlike feel, with the remarkable
visual tableau that make his films so unique, rather than horror
shocks. This film is also considerably more openly erotic than
its predecessors – there are no real sex scenes, but there's
plenty of nudity and an aura of sensuality pervades.
is a downside – the film has rather too many lengthy dialogue
scenes that somewhat lack pace, suggesting that Rollin was more
at home creating his delirious visions of ecstasy rather than
dealing with straight-forward narrative. Better to let the images
do the talking – something he thankfully returned to in
his next film, Requiem
for a Vampire.
This minor criticism aside, The Shiver of the Vampires
- aka Le Frisson des Vampires, which perhaps
more appropriately translates as The Vampire's Thrill
- remains a remarkable and compulsive film, unlike anything (apart
from other Rollin movies) that you’ll ever see.
This new Blu-ray edition from Redemption looks great - better
than the film was ever appearaed before - and offers the choice
of English dubbed or subtitled versions, Rollin trailers and 40
minutes of Rollin interview footage, as well as the booklet that
is uniform to the series.
IT NOW (USA)