A girl arrives from London to visit her estranged relatives in a remote castle for the reading of her father's will. After a while she discovers that they are all in fact dead and her ... See full summary »
On the run from an asylum for the insane, a feisty young girl and a forlorn female companion embark on a surreal journey with a group of traveling erotic dancers. Wandering from the fantastic to the farcical and back again,
KILLING CAR is one of Jean Rollin's most unusual films and is a real departure from the vampire theme for which he is best known, though it still maintains Rollin's signature mix of mysterious femmes fatales and female flesh.
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This low budget first film from director Jean Rollin is in reality two very loosely-connected, surreally erotic shorts about vampirism. In the first, three Parisians including a psychoanalyst try to convince four neurotic sisters living in a decaying country chateau that their belief that they are 200 year old vampires is false. The alluring young women are influenced and controlled by a enigmatic disembodied voice which turns out to be the an aging, aristocratic lord of the manor, whose motives are unclear but clearly perverse. Local rustics unite to hunt down and kill the sanguine siblings. In the second, the Queen of the Vampires and her acolytes arrive on the scene, resurrect the dead, and promulgate the cause of the Undead while a medical researcher works to find an antidote to vampirism. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jean Rollin improvised most of the story after losing the script on the third day of shooting the picture. See more »
Queen of the Vampires:
The time has come to seal the union of the imminent triumph of the immortal race. This wedding of blood opens up the doors to the world. The great mystery is about to take place. Another chosen one will sit among us. Many more will follow us and taste immortality. The world will become a feast of blood, and we will have the best seats - we the vampires of whom I am queen!
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Muddled vampire tale with some astonishing black-and-white visuals.
Popular French art/cult director Jean Rollin's first foray into the horror genre calls itself a two-part melodrama and is divided into two segments that overlap; "Part One: The Rape of the Vampire" and "Part Two: The Vampire Women." In the first portion (which is the shorter of the two), psychoanalyst Thomas, his friend Marc and Marc's girlfriend Brigitte go to a mansion to investigate claims of vampirism. Living at the large country home are four psychologically troubled young women who are rumored to be ageless vampires by the superstitious townspeople. The villagers try to keep the women inside at all times by staking crosses everywhere and using a weird-looking, hairy-faced scarecrow that an old man provides the voice for. Thomas suspects the women have been brainwashed into believing they're actually vampires when it fact they're not, and sets out to get to the bottom of things. Even though the acting's not great, the dialogue is terrible and the editing is horrible, this segment is visually very beautiful. The images, the camera set-ups, the framing of shots and the clarity of the black-and-white photography are all done well. The director also proves to have a nice eye for detail, outdoor scenery, light and shadow. The art direction is also good, and though the storyline is a bit muddled it's still not too difficult to follow. Unfortunately, immediately after this shorter portion concludes, the film basically falls apart and it never recovers.
With several of the principals either dead or turned into vampires at the end of "Rape," we now enter the second segment "The Queen of the Vampires." The "Queen" is an arrogant short-haired woman who is carried around on a bed by two of her goons and has a bunch of hipster followers at her side to do her bidding. No clue what she really wants or what's driving her, but it seems like she's power mad and wants to put on some kind of theatrical wedding where two people will have sex in a coffin that's nailed shut. She and her minions have also blackmailed a doctor into trying to come up with a cure for vampirism. They have turned the doctor's girlfriend into a vampire to edge him along. Several characters from the first segment wander in and out every once in awhile. It's all extremely confusing to watch and hard to keep track of what's going on, who is who and what it is whoever is trying to accomplish. This second and much longer portion also seems more rushed and less stylish than the first. It's also full of continuity errors and hacky editing splices that make it even more confusing. Both segments feature plenty of T&A shots, which were quite risqué for 1967 I'm sure.
Discounting Rollin's super-cheesy living dead disaster ZOMBIE LAKE (which even his most devoted fans have a hard time defending), this is my first real look at the work of this director. I see a fantastic visual stylist with a lot of potential who needs a little help on his narrative structure and pacing. A happy medium can be met. Throwing a little clarity in every once in awhile never hurt a film. Of course, some people can and will defend the most senseless films ever made as long as they look good, calling them "poetic" or "dream-like" or "experimental." That's perfectly fine if this is a masterpiece in some people's eyes, but to me a movie this illogical really needs to sustain that other-worldly feel throughout to keep me interested. The first segment almost seemed to hit the right note, but the second didn't even come close. I'll certainly still check out more films from Rollin based on the positives here even though I was less than enthusiastic about this effort.
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