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"Les Frissons des Vampires" can't be considered, in the strict sense, a
horror film, because there are no suspense and/or scares waiting for
the viewer. What the film has to offer is atmosphere, plenty of
atmosphere. The plot is thin: a couple arrives in a castle, in order to
pay the fiancée's two cousins, a visit (they were once brave vampire
hunters, but one night they fell in battle, and became afterwards
enthusiastic vampires). These cousins, together with their team (two
beautiful servant maids and a solemn vampire girl that emerges out of
the most unexpected places), prowl around the innocent guests. This
stuff could lead to a really suspenseful film, but I guess that was not
Jean Rollin's intention.
The lighting effects create beautiful night colors. Every new night, bathed in a different color - the castle - a visual leitmotif. The conversations are frequently literary (especially the two philosopher vampire cousins) and a self-parody - not to be taken seriously. Delicate camera movements, strange angle shots, various colored lights flooding landscape, castle and graveyard.... the idyllic prog rock of Acanthus..... the fog grows and spreads in wonderland.
We should relearn to watch films. "Les Frissons des Vampires" is slow-paced - maybe if you just relax and don't hang too much on the story, you may experience the film - enjoy its gorgeous colors effects, its poetic-humoristic dialogues (spoken in French, a very sweet language) and its bizarre atmosphere.
Welcome to the fantasy world of Jean Rollin. Give free reins to your senses and imagination. Dive in.
Unforgettable Rollin extravaganza, daring to go for effects other directors would dismiss as cheesy, and pulling them off. On one level, it seems pure exploitation, with its somnolent virgins and lesbian vampires; but it is the prospective male viewer that the film targets - his representative on screen is reduced to an impotent observer, finally breaking down into helpless madness. Rollin's style is as delirious as ever, fantastic French Gothic sets, seeping red filter, dreamlike pace, bewilderingly inventive soundtrack, resonant set-pieces and unmissably pretentious dialogue. It's easier to follow than THE RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE.
Jean Rollin's early films are an acquired taste with their accent on mood and atmosphere over linear plot structure. This film is the best of his early output, right up there with LES RAISINS DE LA MORT. It's got a prog-rock music score, long-haired hippie vampires, old cemeteries and castles lit in bright shades of red, blue and green. Rollin's first feature was like a pretentious student film. His second feature added a little science fiction to the vampire mythos. But it's here that all the ingredients came together in just the right way. I still find myself falling asleep during the nonsensical dialog scenes or long takes but am always riveted back to the screen by the next striking scene to come.
Perhaps it's a matter of personal taste, or the lack thereof; I love Jean Rollin movies, and this Rollin film in particular I've seen several times. Of all the European erotic horror of the sixties and seventies, Rollin's movies most effectively maintain a certain morbid psychedelic vibe, a genuinely Gothic atmosphere, which most of his peers' work only captures fitfully, at best. "Shiver of the Vampires" was the movie that firmly established my fondness for this entire genre; and if it sounds interesting to you, do yourself a favor and seek it out, especially the Redemption DVD, which is gorgeously mastered from (according to the liner notes) the director's own print.
This is one of those films that is entirely plotless, but it doesn't matter. There's bucketfulls of atmosphere and the acting is pretty good. The directing is excellent. It's got one hell of a lot of nude women in, but they're presented in an arty sort of way rather than simple pornography. I reckon it must have had a budget of about 20 francs, though, but this gives it a kind of loveable quality.
I actually got this movie as a mistake. I ordered something completely different from Amazon and the 3rd party sent me "Labios De Sangre" which was a Spanish dubbed version of "Le Frisson Des Vampires". How they got them confused is beyond me. Well since I already got a refund and I read some of the reviews about the seller sending wrong tapes, I figured I'd watch it. I love the music and the cinematography. I threw it in when I was going to bed so I did fall asleep but I was very interested. So I watched it again the next day. Since there's a lot of visuals and not really a whole lot of dialogue(mine being in Spanish) I didn't mind... I ignored it and followed the story visually. It was easy to figure out that they were Lesbian Vampires and the must en-trance the victim into getting naked and then dramatically chomping down on her neck as they immediately go limp and fall down with their legs together(dammit!)Nice! Trippy, Groovy Music. Subservient naked chicks...... it's Awesome.
A wonderful, weird, vampire movie about temptation and confusion. I am very much a fan of 1970s European vampire movies and Jean Rollin was the best of them. And Shiver is one of my favorites. It has very weird dialogue and the plot is very confusing, which is why it is great! If you are looking for the best of this genre, this is one of the films to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Isa (a charming performance by the fetching Sandra Julien) and her husband Antoine (a likable portrayal by Jean-Marie Durand) are a recently married honeymooning couple who stop for the night at a moldy old castle. The couple discover that the castle is the home of a horde of vampires who have very special plans for Isa. Director Jean Rollin, who also co-wrote the offbeat script with Monique Natan, relates the cheerfully outré story at a hypnotically gradual pace, does his usual ace job of creating and sustaining a dreamy'n'trippy oddball atmosphere, smartly explores an intriguing theme about destiny, and makes the most out of the rundown castle and adjacent spooky cemetery locations. Moreover, Rollins not only further spices things up with a generous sprinkling of sizzling lesbianism and yummy female nudity, but also gives the picture an extra delightful lift with an amusing sense of playful humor and a few startling moments of inspired surrealism (for example, the vampiress who pops up inside of a grandfather clock). The game cast have a ball with the idiosyncratic material: Jacques Robiolles and Michael Delahaye contribute engaging work as a pair of cordial and jolly vampires, cute brunette Kuelan Herce and adorable blonde Marie-Pierre Castel are very sexy and appealing as loyal maids who work for said vampires, and Nicole Nancell cuts a marvelously wicked figure as calculating man-hating bloodsucker bitch Isabelle. Jean-Jacques Renon's striking cinematography makes impressive use of bold and vibrant color. The funky-throbbing score by the prog-rock group Acanthus hits the get-down groovy spot. A real weirded-out blast of an entertaining avant-garde item.
Absolutely true to say that it has no story but the combination of pretty
nude vampires and photography, coupled with the muddled story give it a
certain charm. Watch out for the purple eyed vampiress who emerges from a
clock then from a chimney. See her kill her victim with a pair of pointed
Also look out for the two old male vampires who wear crushed velvet loon pants. I especially liked the end where the vampires dies with cheesy special effects and our demented hero is firing his gun into the air as he runs along the beach.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of all the few Rollin films I have seen (and I intend to see more), Le
Frisson des Vampires/Shiver of the Vampire (his third) might be my
favourite. The plot is still thin and difficult to follow in places
but that is deliberate. Rollin seems instead to concentrate on imagery,
atmosphere and mood. Shiver contains all these things. Equally typical,
there is plenty of casual nudity which rarely actually comes across in
an erotic way, rather as a perfunctory element of the whole, delirious
As one of the two serving girls, once again, is Marie Pierre Castel. Marie featured in a number of Rollin films, sometimes alongside her sister Catherine. Both girls are striking to look at, quite ethereal in fact, and here Marie is her usual rarely-speaking, somnambulistic subordinate who for once, appears to have a happy ending. Marie's final Rollin role was in La Fiancée de Dracula/The Fiancée of Dracula (2002). Though not often required to do a great deal other than look alien, the Castels are mesmerizing performers.
Here, the locations are truly stunning and deathly creepy. Huge castles and lush forestry, together with a freezing beach another Rollin staple often belie the sometimes stilted acting, especially from the two hippy/vampires.
This film is afforded an actual ending, which doesn't always happen. Often in the Rollin films I have seen, they end very suddenly, possibly as a result of his lack of budget or time constraints. Not so here. There is a very final moment which nevertheless invites the viewer to check out more of his work. Certainly, this is one of his most accessible, although no kind of compromise to 'normal' film-making in any way.
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