Saturday, October 27, 2012

Living Dead Girl





Living Dead Girl(La Morte Vivante) Directed Jean Rollin. Starring Fran├žoise Blanchard. (1982).
                1982 was an insane year for film, mainstream and cult and I have to look at Living Dead Girl in that context, you had Star Trek 2, E.T.,CreepShow, Dark Crystal, The Entity and The Beast Master all classics in my book! So I’m not surprised that someone like Jean Rollin got overshadowed and forgotten by many (accept goths and creeps with lesbian vampire fetishes). This whole scene turned me off to the Rollin and I overlooked his films, this is actually the first one I’ve ever watched. It’s conveniently on Netflix instant and Fandor, which is cool, otherwise I might not have sought it out. At a castle two french wino delivery men lug chemical waste down into the crypt. It turns out they are broke delivery men and their tips are dead people’s belongings! They proceed to rob the corpse of an old woman lying in a coffin (taking her rings and jewlery). One of the thieves looks like Eric Idle. An earthquake knocks  over the barrel of toxic waste and it spills on a fat guy, mutating his face. An icy blonde springs forth out of nowhere and squishes out Eric Idle’s eyeballs! Catherine Valmont is the icy blonde( who looks like an undead Nico from the Velvet Underground to me). She kills everyone in sight (or those that enter her property). Meanwhile two visiting photographers at a Country Inn notice Catherine. They both speak English, but are subtitled. The wanna-be actress played by Carina Barone takes a picture of the lifeless Nico (Catherine), her dress remains white even though she’s been busy gouging out eyes and pulling throats open.
                Catherine stands among her odd collection of strange items (like an armless Christ and a creepy rocking horse) as her castle is being sold by a very butch realtor. She is haunted by the memory of her childhood friend Helene. As children they both made a solemn vow and a blood ritual that “if one dies first, the other follows”, Helene lives and breaks her promise.  The butch realtor sneaks into the castle late at night and has sex with her boyfriend, who looks like Van Morrison. Undead Nico plays the piano, intterupting them, but they think its only a rat. Van is killed and he spurts blood from his throat right into his girlfriends face like a revolting orgasm. Nico plunges her deadly fingers into the realtors neck and kills her too. So far there has been three naked girls and tons of gore, I think I’m on board the lesbian vampire cruise to discovering Jean Rollin as an important film maker. Helen arrives and hooks up with her old friend and agrees to feed her blood (here comes the erotic lesbian connotation). There relationship develops into the Frank and Julia one like in Hellraiser, where she brings the victims and he or she drains the blood. Nico gets naked as she clutches a music box (her pubic hair is crooked). At first I wondered if she wasn’t actually dead, but merely insane and heartbroken, sleeping in a coffin. The plaque with her name on it confirms that she is most likely dead and her “Blood” sister has to clean up after her meals (of human blood). Talk about an enabling girlfriend!! The wanna-be actress is fascinated and quickly turns into more of an investigative journalist, it ends badly for her. There's a gruesome scene where Nico squeezes the shit out of this girl's intestines (El Guapo style!). All the french actors in this film (living or dead) are very pasty. This is a good gateway film if you are reluctant to seek out Jean Rollin, another film maker on the same level of underappreciation is Paul Naschy. Rob Zombie later named a song after this film, but I'm no fan of his musical work (and his film work is rapidly getting worse).
 Available on Fandor



It's a marvelous night for a blood bath

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