11 January 2021

Jean Rollin's La Vampire nue | The Nude Vampire (1969)


Jean Rollin (1938-2010) was the son of the actor Claude Martin and Denise Lefroi, who when he was one year old formed a liasion with Georges Bataille, with whom she lived in Vézelay until 1943. But Bataille met Diane Kotchoubey De Beauharnais and there was a brief ménage à trois until Denise left with Jean.

Rollin is noted for his erotic vampire films, of which this is his second. La Vampire nue is easier to sum up than it is to describe. There's a general dream-ike atmosphere although the film in general is marred by a B-movie feel, as if this isn't the main feature. Pierre Radamante (Olivier Rollin, Jean's half-brother) falls in love with a young girl (Caroline Cartier) who's trying to escape from beast-headed men he later discovers are working for his father Georges (Maurice Lemaître): they think she's a vampire and want to experiment on her to discover the secret of immortality.

I could go on but the plot gets very complicated. It's enough to say that she's not a vampire but an immortal, and Pierre in the end joins her in immortality. OK, this was only Rollin's second film, but to say it creaks somewhat is putting it mildly, and I really think all the bare-breasted women must have been there for the box office. I can understand why this film got really mixed (but mainly negative) reviews from professional and amateur reviewers alike, but it might be interesting to see how Rollin fares with a later movie of his.

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