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The Shiver of the Vampires

THE SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES
Blu-ray. Redemption.

Jean 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.

Shiver of the VampiresThere 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.

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (USA)

 

 

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