Monday, April 22, 2013

The Grapes Of Death

Grapes Of Death(Les Raisins De La Mort) Directed By Jean Rollin. Starring Marie-Georges Pascal (1978).
   This is one of the early French NOTLD influenced chemical contamination zombie films that beat many to the punch, the first being Jorge Grau’s Let Sleeping Corpses Lie in 1974. This is the second Jean Rollin film on TOG to be reviewed and it’s not as vile as Living Dead Girl, but it’s still an important movie. Wine makers on a farm begin to have breathing problems, Kowalski one of the jagged toothed unkempt, 70's biker rock looking workers complains first. Later two girls are attacked by an infected mutated Kowalski, who boards the train and lumbers forth with a pulsating growth spurting out of the side of his face. This disease turns people into infected zombies alarmingly fast and pretty much rots their insides, the zombie epidemic is similar to Nightmare City in that they are more pustular then undead.
   There's some Phillip Glass style organ music during a countryside escape scene as one of the girls; Elisabeth, leaves the train and unfortunately ends up by the wine barn where pesticides are creating mindless unhealthy creatures.
   Just like in the original Tombs Of The Blind Dead, travelers must be weary of leaving the comfort of the railroad, because once you step onto the soil of an empty village, the people there are terrified or in this case diseased and in a defensive mood. She ventures into a stone cottage adorned with wine on the table and artwork (an unassuming trap that seems welcoming). The people she finds have a hostility about them and definitely don't want any police involved in the train murder of Elisabeth’s friend by Kowalski. A father and daughter take her in and it turns out a plague is affecting everyone within a short radius of the wine farm and causing the father to kill people. They all break out in yellow runny sores and the dad shoves a pitchfork into his daughter.
is there a Doctor in the house?
   Liz finds a car and flees the scene, but is met by a man with a pulsating oozing sore blistering out of his forehead. Rollin uses the “shoot them in head” patented zombie method, but these aren't really zombies and many of them whimper and seem to want help, which makes them kind of pathetic. There are no hospitals in the lush countryside in Rollins universe.
   She finds a blind girl named Lucie (Mirella Rancelot) and leads her through the eerie countryside and it slowly grows darker as they walk. The girl has been feeling her way around the trees and corpse faces and has lost her blithering psychotic guide Lucas. Zombies begin to swarm around them and her guide drags her away and nails her to a wooden door then hacks her head clean off!
   Bridget Lahaie (Faceless, Electric Blue) the famous sexy blonde from other Jean Rollins films and some adult ones shows up with two large dogs, as a small tribute to Mario Bava’s Black Sunday. She tricks Elisabeth, and the wine pesticides that have reduced all of the baguette and wine-munching villagers to runny sored lunatics, have not (for some reason) blemished her flawless body.      Two hunters arrive and lucky for the audience, she immediately strips just to convince them that she is not a zombie! Lucas disgusting and tenderly makes out with the severed blind girl’s head. The hunters that show up armed with shotguns are working class beer joes and have eluded the French zombie plague! I would have survived this zombie plague too being the beer connoisseur that I am!
the meatloaf in my brain cavity is ready to serve
   The pacing is tedious yet is entertaining enough to keep your interest and I’ve sawed logs through Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (which I’m going to re-evaluate and drink lots of coffee for a future review). In this film you get erotic star Bridget Lahie, who I’ll take over Ray Lovelock any day (not that he isn’t handsome)! There’s a nice reverse twist between the hunters and the last survivor that I won’t spoil here. This is another film available Via Fandor but Netflix also offers many Jean Rollin films. Fandor has the rare ones and my favorite part about them vs. NF is that they offer subtitles on TV through Roku and I always have problems with that, so they are the better option in my opinion, especially if you are a regular TOG reader and need your cult movie fix all the time. So check this film out if you are an early Romero tribute completist. 6 out of 10.
Would somebody mind popping this fella back in my socket?

Hack the heads off middle aged girls and put em on my wall!

You'd totally let me infect you with genital pesticide rot, admit it!

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