A runaway criminal breaks into an eerie chateau, taking its two frightened chambermaids hostage. As night falls, a group of mysterious aristocratic women arrive and the criminal begins to realize the women are hiding a sinister secret.
Frederick sees a photograph of a ruined seaside castle, which triggers a strange childhood memory. He then goes on a strange quest, aided by four female vampires, to find the castle and the beautiful woman who lives there.
A young man falls in love with a beautiful woman being chased by sinister masked figures at night. He tries to track her down, and learns she's being held captive by his father and colleagues who believe she's a vampire.
A gang of pirates rape the two sole survivors of a ship wreck. The violated girls are rescued by the strange inhabitants of a supposedly haunted island, where they are granted supernatural powers to strike revenge against the pirates.
Creepy and Original 'Environmentalist' Zombie Gore Film by Jean Rollin
I must admit that, unlike many of my fellow Eurohorror fanatics, I am not the biggest fan of Jean Rollin, but then, I am still far from being an expert on the man's work. Most of the Rollin films that I've seen so far reach from stylish but flawed (e.g. "Fascination") to stylish but boring (e. g. "La Rose De Fer") to plain ridiculous ("Le Lac Des Morts Vivants"). Therefore, I was very positively surprised when I recently saw "Les Raisins De La Mort" aka. "The Grapes of Death" (1977) a highly original, creepy, intelligent and overall very impressive Zombie/Gore film, which is by far my favorite of all the Rollin flicks I've seen.
"Les Raisins De La Mort" is a Zombie film with a somewhat environmentalist premise: In a mountainous, wine-drinking area of France, pesticides that are meant as insect repellents for grapes, turn the population sick and murderously insane... Unlike your usual fully braindead zombies, the infected here are still (somewhat) capable of thinking, talking and having feelings, they just have the insatiable urge to murder...
"Les Raisins De La Mort" has the reputation of being one of the first French gore films, and it is also a highly effective one. The cinematography and settings (beautiful French landscapes and villages) are extremely elegant, which is a quality that most Rollin films have. This one's intriguing premise and suspense is a quality that I would only attribute to this one (out of the bunch of Rollin films I've seen). Marie-Georges Pascal, who sadly committed suicide at age 39 in 1985, makes a likable protagonist as Élisabeth, a girl who gets lost in the land of the infested when trying to visit her fiancé, and Mirella Rancelot is memorable as a blind girl, a likable character whose stare into nonentity is both sympathy-evoking and slightly eerie. The film delivers what gore fans expect, the zombie-makeup (the infested begin to get moldy and rot away) is extremely disgusting, and the gore effects are bloody as hell and very well done. For a Rollin film, this one is very low on the sleaze and nudity, only the ravishing actress/pornstar Brigitte Lahaie (Rollin's favorite actress) gets naked in a supporting role. The score is pretty good and underlines the eerie atmosphere.
Overall, this film delivers everything one might hope for in a Zombie film: a nice setting, suspense and creepiness, and loads of (both disturbing and disgusting) gore. Atmospheric, effective and definitely Rollin's best, in my opinion. Highly recommended!
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