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The movies of Jean Rollin are an acquired taste. He specializes in haunting,
sensual, visually impressive movies that frequently concern memory, or
memory loss, and obsessively feature beautiful naked women, usually
vampires. Maybe Rollin's therapist can fully explain why his movies deal
with this subject matter over and over, but hey, I don't care, it sure works
for me! If you haven't seen any of his work, 'Lips Of Blood' is as good a
place to start as any, but frankly I've never seen a bad movie by him yet.
They're all good. I'm hooked!
Jean-Lou Philippe stars (and co-scripts) as a thirty something man who becomes obsessed with a photograph which reminds him of of his almost-forgotten childhood, which is sketchy at best. He attempts to track down the location in the picture, and this brings back memories of a beautiful and mysterious girl (the lovely Annie Belle/Briand, who also worked with Deodato and D'Amato) he once met. He finds himself uncovering a family secret and his life goes in a direction he could never have anticipated.
'Lips Of Blood' is yet another wonderfully evocative, dream-like film from Jean Rollin. A truly unique film maker who creates fascinating worlds that are both seductive and dangerous. Rollin is one of the best kept secrets in horror, and a master of erotic fantasy.
This is my first Rollin film - and I loved it. Gloriously silly and surreal, I detect many sly references to Bunuel (the boring cocktail party) and Fellini (the cold empty beach like the apocalyptic end to 'La Dolce Vita' - did Spielberg get his floating coffins in 'Empire of the Sun' from this???). The nubile vampires are so unscary and unerotic - they look more like hungry fashion models with a penchant for nasal fairy dust. Who did the hero's hair - Leonard of London? - let's bring back the male bouffant! I think he got that knitted top with the zipper up front after seeing Pink Floyd 'Live at Pompeii'. There are so many great moments - like where the photographer turns at the sound of the doorbell - before it actually rings. What did this mean? Precognition? Bad acting? Who cares. I actually saw this on SBS TV (free to air - unedited). Thankyou SBS - a gem.
There's no question that Jean Rollin films are something of an acquired
taste. His style is certainly off-putting to many. Even from someone
who is fond of most of his output, I can easily understand why someone
would not like Rollin's movies at all. Lips of Blood is another
textbook example of the man's work with all the usual eccentric and
idiosyncratic details you could reasonably expect. Its story involving
female vampires is typical of the sort of thing he is most well known
for. Except I have to say that I think that this film may very well be
the most complete expression that Rollin ever made. I get the feeling
that this movie is possibly the closest of all his pictures to the
original idea he envisioned.
Quite unusually much of the action takes place in the middle of the city. But as is typical for Rollin, this also incorporates scenes in a Gothic cemetery as well as the expected crumbling castle and beach sequence. However, the night time city scenes are very probably the best parts of the entire movie. They include some strange and surreal locations such as the aquarium, the night fountains and the late night cinema (showing Le Frissons des Vampires no less). The extended scene where our hero navigates all these locations is some of the most fully-realized and effective stuff Rollin ever filmed. He photographs and lights things very well too and Lips of Blood doesn't betray its ultra low-budget origins as much as most of his other films.
The storyline, however, is as basic as usual. The characterizations are as paper-thin as always. But these considerations are just not what you would watch his films for, and if these things do bother you then his films are most probably not for you. But if you appreciate more dream-like fare or melancholic horror films, then this could well be worth your time. Lips of Blood is arguably Rollin's best film, it's certainly one of his most well made. Recommended to those who like Euro horror from the more surreal end of the spectrum.
The films of Jean Rollin will be an enigma to many who have not
experiencing his work, yet for those who allow themselves to be taken
elsewhere by his cinema it can prove a highly rewarding experience. The
viewer is often taken to places that invoke bewilderment, unease, and
sexual desire. By no means Rollin's best film, Levres De Sang (aka.
Lips of Blood) is a beautifully lyrical, slow burner that has the
uncanny ability to take the viewer into an ethereal, dream like world,
where the erotic and the neurotic are intertwined.
The story of a photographer, upon seeing a poster, is reminded of his childhood where a mysterious female vampire. However, this being Rollin, do not expect a traditional vampire movie (although his vampire films are arguably the most faithful to the Gothic aura and mythology of the vampire). Mostly dialogue free, with the acting catatonic, this only adds a surreal edge to the proceedings. And no vampire films have a greater sense of eroticism; it is easily to succumb to female vampires whenever they are on screen.
For the uninitiated, approach with caution. But this is a fine example of the originality and unique approach which is to be found in 1970s European sex and horror cinema.
Of which, Jean Rollin was undoubtedly the master.
Jean Rollin is often thought of as a second-rate Jess Franco, but to be
honest I can't really see as many similarities between the two's work
judging from this film. Sure, there's a lot of naked female vampires
running around (which as we all know Franco was also a fan of showing),
but thats about it. Rollin, while a serviceable enough director
himself, lacks Franco's flamboyant visual flair, nor does he seem to be
emulating it. And even though I enjoy Franco's output more, I'll
readily admit that Rollin is a much better storyteller. As much as I
love both "Vampyros Lesbos" and "Venus In Furs", linear and coherent
narratives they're not. "Lips of Blood" tells a reasonably engrossing
The story of this film is both a plus and a detraction somewhat. You really get intrigued by the sense of surreal mystery that the protagonist goes through. I also found the film to move at a much quicker pace than many others did. Still, the film presents us with a protagonist thats not remotely interesting and some supporting characters that become annoying quick (particularly the mother). It doesn't make the film any less interesting, but it prevents it from being as strong as it could've been.
The direction by Rollin is quite accomplished. He certainly manages to create a dreamlike atmosphere that makes even the real life settings such as Paris seem oddly alien and otherworldly. There's some rather pretentious moments that fumble, but overall this film evokes an unique atmosphere. The film is never tense or really creepy, but that didn't really matter to me because it looked so beautiful at times. The ending for the film was an absolutely perfect and ambiguous (not to mention completely unpredicted) way to finish it. "Lips of Blood" isn't perfect, but is unique enough and much stronger than most European horror films of the period. (7/10)
A fine film. Not, perhaps quite as effective as the rather similar and later, Fascination, but there is still enough to enjoy. Those wind blown see through dresses again for one, or should that be four? No Brigitte Lahaie in this one but the lovely girls in this do well enough. Not quite sure why two of them have to wear something underneath their diaphanous garments but perhaps I have no right to quibble. Bit more story to this one, which actually slows it down a little but this is an interesting enough tale, the girls are of course enchanting and menacing at the same time and Rollin knows well enough how to make the very most of a simple Gothic location.
Lips of Blood (1975) (Lèvres de sang)- Jean Rollin directed this slower story a man seeking to reconnect to his childhood and the vampire he is destined to be reunited to. Frédéric (Jean-Loup Philippe) is haunted by the images of some ruins he visited as a child and starts a journey to find them. Someone is trying to prevent this from happening, who could it be? His over protective Mother (Nathalie Perrey) advice is to forget the past but Frédéric can't do that. His dreaming leads him to a tomb where he releases a group of scantily clad female vampires who seem to aid him and terrorized him in his quest. When he finally finds the vampire from the past, Jennifer (Annie Belle); his mother comes to him and says that she has been protecting him from the Vamps and he must help her put an end to them. She and her friends had long ago trapped the vampires and now wish to burn them. He is assigned to get Jennifer's head for this purpose. He does not bring the real head and instead frees the beautiful Jennifer to be her lover. She turns him and they sail away in a coffin. (not kidding here) The movie making is standard for the time period with heavy music and blue and red lighting for effect. There are no special effects besides the lovely bodies of the beautiful vamps. The nudity is more casual than pornographic. Subtitled pay attention or you will miss the reveals. Very straight forward compared to some of Rollin's more abstract work. Rating (6.5)
I read somewhere that director Jean Rollin was especially proud of this
movie because it actually has a plot (kind of). Unfortunately, when it
comes to Rollin, a plot is more of a liability than an asset--logical
plots and the infamous French Eurohorror director just aren't a great
combo. It starts out well--a man who works for an ad agency has a
recurring dream where he meets a strange woman in a crumbling castle by
the sea. At an expo he sees a picture of the castle from his dreams. He
finds the female photographer and, although she's reluctant at first,
he convinces her (by having sex with her, of course) to tell him where
the mysterious castle is. The subsequent murder of the photographer
doesn't deter him from going there where he meets the strange woman and
the plot begins to unravel (in more ways than one).
Without giving it away, the pay-off to this mystery is unbelievably stupid and even requires the protagonist's mother to show up at one point and deliver a long, awkward exposition. Moreover, the more or less linear plot doesn't work too well with Rollin's decidedly non-linear visual style. At one point, for instance, the main character is fleeing half a dozen naked female vampires in the seaside castle and then in the very next scene he's fending off a mugger on the Paris subway. I'm no geographer but I'm pretty sure Paris is a couple hours from the coast and that the Paris subway doesn't run that far. This scene would be no problem in the typical non-sensical Rollin's film, but in a movie that is otherwise trying to be logical it's a little jarring. The movie also lacks a lot of Rollin's interesting trademark visuals (i.e. vampires emerging from grandfather clocks, virgins in miniskirts lying face down on coffins). The one exception is at the end where a brother and sister vampire crawl naked at sunrise into a coffin which is slowly swept out to sea (I understand this is one of the most famous images in Rollin's whole oeuvre). But there are not nearly enough visuals like this to maintain your interest, and the "plot" here, unfortunately, is a poor substitute.
If your one who enjoys the recent surge in European horror films, by all
means watch this delirious, non-sensical, erotic gem courtesy of director
From nude vampire women roaming the streets of Paris, to spooky castles and graveyards. LIPS OF BLOOD is sure to please
Be forewarned, as this film is for acquired tastes only. A must for sleazy, soft core horror buffs who enjoy their movies with an art house touch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Lips of Blood" is Rollin on auto pilot. It has all his usual calling
cards: vampires wandering around in see-through night gowns, Gothic
castles filmed outdoors, "dreamlike" (read: nonsensical and lazy)
plotting. It has none of the striking imagery that he could pull off in
movies like The Nude Vampire.
One misstep is the guy who plays the main character. He looks like a Victorian-era Ken doll, but with less charisma. I don't really know if I can blame the actor for doing such a bad job. Rollin himself may have assumed that to have a "dreamlike" movie, you need actors who act like they're asleep. Unfortunately it doesn't leave the audience much to work with. Someone should have told Rollin that you can have a "dreamlike" atmosphere and at least allow the main character to show some kind of emotion. Hell, he could have cast someone who was actually capable of showing emotion. From what we see, the main guy wasn't.
He is also creepy, but not in a scary way. More of a "I don't want to watch this guy anymore" kind of way.
You can't even begin to care about whatever's going on in this movie when you have to watch him all the time, but this is Jean Rollin, so it's not like there's much going on anyway. This movie really suffers from its low budget. You get tired of all the outdoor shots, and the apparition of the short haired vampire just becomes a bore.
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