Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Shiver of the Vampires [Le Frisson des Vampires] (1971, Jean Rollin)

 A newly-wed couple (Jean-Marie Durand and Sandra Julien) unwisely decide to spend their honeymoon in an old castle, wherein the frigid and not at all up-for-it bride discovers the joys of Sapphic undead love thanks to the lovely Isolde (the intriguing Dominique), a sexy but slightly malnourished-looking vampiress who lives in a grandfather clock. Also participating in this feast of Gallic ghoulishness are a pair of pretentious philosophising vampire brothers, one of whom is for unstated reasons best known to himself attending this particular Halloween party dressed as Austin Powers.

Not a lot else happens, to be honest, but there is much enjoyment to be had here: a gorgeous shot of a slain dove, its crimson blood spattering a coffin; the fey vampires' beautiful maids, scantily clad in diaphanous cloaks and not a lot else; interesting set dressings like a skellington fishtank; and a pounding bass-heavy jazzy score. The random ending, which finds the cuckolded and jilted for a corpse bridegroom firing his weapon uselessly into the air, could possibly have meaning read into it by those with a media studies degree and the inclination to use it, but personally i'm just in it for the sexy vampire chicks. And if you are of a like-minded persuasion, you can't go wrong with Rollin.


  1. Such a shame they translated the title! 'Frisson' is a much better word than 'shiver'. I don't know if it's inherently sexier, or if it's just that everything sounds sexier in French, like 'reconnaissance' or 'persiflage'.

    Blonde lass with the candelabrum looks like Jo Grant from Doctor Who.

    You'd have to be malnourished to live in a grandfather clock. I mean, they're not very wide, and once you're in there you have to leave room for the pendulum to swing back and forth, otherwise it won't be able to chime sonorously at midnight, like all clocks in the vicinity of vampires should.

    "....could possibly have meaning read into it by those with a media studies degree and the inclination to use it." Ooh, is that a dig at Sophie? :-P Alas, I myself am only a very 'umble English Literature graduate, so I have no idea at all what a man firing his weapon uselessly into the air could possibly signify. Nope. Nuh-uh. Not me.

    I would actually quite like to watch this film with Tony, but I'm trying to save money at the moment.

  2. A dig at Sophie? Oh, no: 'tis a dig at my younger self, when i did media and used to enjoy an indulgence in overanalysis.:)

    It's a very well-made film, like most of Jean Rollin's word that i've seen (Levres des Sang / Lips of Blood is a good 'un an' all: i'll probably do that one at some point).

  3. Jean Rollin's *work that i've seen. Bliddy tyops.

  4. I have a media studies degree, yes. I also have a Women's studies MA. Putting those together and approaching this film for possible analysis, all my combined education can manage is: Bloody hell, the size of those woman's nipples! :O

  5. The '70s were a different time. I think large nipples and wild ladygardens were the thing back then.