Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shiver Of The Vampires

Shiver Of The Vampires (Le Frisson Des Vampires, Strange Things Happen At Night, Sex and Vampires). Directed By Jean Rollin starring Dominique (1971). 
It's been awhile since I've done a review for the lesbian vampire king of French cinema or Jean Rollin, but I'm glad I checked out Shiver because it's one of his best! A technicolor phantasmagoric blast! 
   It starts off black and white in a crowded grave yard, but switches to brilliantly bright primary colors for the remainder. The soundtrack is very 70's fuzzed out psychedelic rock by Acanthus, which sounds like it would fit in perfectly on one of those Peace,Love and Poetry compilations.   
   Isle and Antoine (Sandra Julien and Jean-Marie Durand) are on their honeymoon out in the typical dreary Rollin French countryside with sporadic cottages, general foreboding and full frontal nudity. They stop to visit Isle's cousins, but are met by two candelabra clutching vamps (one Blonde, one Asian), they strut around in see-through nighties. Their vampire master commands them to provide the undead with living victims.
   Later on that night Isle decides to sleeps alone because she's not in the mood after hearing her cousins have died (although later they show up at dinner). After getting all snuggly under the covers, out pops Isolde (played by the single named Dominique), who was neatly tucked into a grandfather clock, she takes her out to an atmospheric graveyard bathed in red lights and bites her (how romantic)!

a magical first date

   Antoine the husband, gets shut out all together because vampirism and lesbianism go hand in hand in Rollin's world. He goes to a library in the castle and gets pummeled by books until he's buried up to his neck! (maybe its a metaphor for his manhood being usurped by powerful lesbians). There's not as much gore as Living Dead Girl or Grapes Of Death, and stylization override the squibs this time around. I didn't mind it because the soundtrack really elevates the film, the lighting and cinematography are pretty mind bending. Isolde wears a steel bra with metal pokers that get shoved into a busty blonde's tits and puncture them in a pretty nasty way!
Dominique or Buffalo Bill from Silent Of The Lambs?

 Two of the fore mentioned mysterious cousins finally show up who are former vampire killers that seemed to have crossed over to the dark side (one looks like Napoleon and the other David Johansen now-a-days ). They start rambling about theology and that the locals have made up the story of their deaths.
They didn't make up the story, however, that we're a happily married couple

   There's one hilarious moment when Isle is walking around in daylight and sees a dead dove and tries to eat it. She walks over to a coffin and someone inside tells her not too open it for fear that the sun will kill. I never felt empathy for Antoine, who should get the message that his bride is happier as a gay vampire. Rollin owes a huge debt to Sheridan Le Fanu (the author of Carmilla, a lesbian vampire story written before Bram Stoker's famous novel). I think that Rollin has taken the concept further than Jess Franco, but they are both guilty of running it into the ground. Franco's soundtrack for Vampyros Lesbos is pretty great too, but I enjoyed this film more over that snooze fest. People kind of gloss over the subtext while being blindsided by the gratuitous nudity. Concerning both film makers work, but there's more allegoric screenwriting than you would think, don't under estimate it. 
Highly Recommended for Goths that avoid Hot Topic!

Ouch my balls!

I hope you like to munch on rugs

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