THE IRON ROSE (1973) – The Dungeon Review!

the iron rose15By 1973 Jean Rollin had made four feature-length vampire films. The Iron Rose was his first foray outside of vampire territory. The Iron Rose is psychological horror but of course boasts Rollin’s signature dreaminess. The Iron Rose is my personal favourite Rollin and is a unique entry in the man’s library.

The Iron Rose opens with a young woman alone on the beach. She finds something that appears to be a rose sculpted from iron. Later she is seen at a wedding reception where she meets a young man. The two make a date and meet with their bicycles at the train yard. They eventually come upon a graveyard and decide to take a tour. The couple have sex inside a crypt and when they emerge later it is dark. When they are unable to find their way out of the graveyard fear sets in and their imaginations get the better of them.

The Iron Rose focuses on a young man and woman and the vast majority of the film takes place in a graveyard over the course of one evening. There are no supernatural elements in The Iron Rose. The evenings events come about as a result of the two protagonists reactions to their surroundings and each other.

Being locked inside a graveyard at night would be pretty frightening for the average person. Imagine stumbling upon several tiny coffins containing skeletal remains. At one point the woman becomes hysterical. The man attempts to calm her but is clearly freaked out himself. Her fear is eventually replaced by acceptance as she embraces her situation in a trance-like state. There is never proof of possession but you certainly can not deny the woman is feverishly occupied with her environment. The Iron Rose is deliberately paced with an atmosphere of oppression, mystery and foreboding. Let us stroll through the garden of The Iron Rose

the iron rose3The young woman alone on the beach after finding a rose sculpted from iron.

the iron rose4A date with a young man she met at a Wedding. They playfully chase each other through the train yard.

the iron rose6A clown in a graveyard.

the iron rose13The young man convinces the woman to enter a crypt with him.

the iron rose2That is not the only thing the young man convinces her to do.

the iron rose5Lost at night in a graveyard.

the iron rose16The couple stumbles into a hole full of skeletal remains.

the iron rose8Come hither and join me!

the iron rose7Dancing.

the iron rose11Look! Look! I got a skull mask made from a real skull!

the iron rose14I love it here! I am going to stay here forever.

the iron rose12

The Iron Rose is a hypnotizing character study of two young people under the influence of their own minds. Francoise Pascal’s performance as the young woman is mesmerizing. The rollercoaster of emotions she goes through is impressive and she delivers with a fluid ease. Pascal’s natural beauty is the perfect vessel for the character. Hugues Quester also gives a strong performance as the young man who has to go through some character transitions of his own. Some of his actions made his character less than endearing. Life. Death. Sex. Madness. The Iron Rose is visual poetry and gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Jean Rollin

Starring: Francoise Pascal, Hugues Quester, Natalie Perrey, Mireille Dargent

7 Responses to “THE IRON ROSE (1973) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. Capitalize Says:

    Is this that movie where a couple is having sex by a tombstone, and the gargoyle or whatever falls off and smashes the guys head?

  2. Gotta say that when I first started reading I was adamant about never seeing this movie, but you really sold it to me and I shall have to find it!

    • goregirl Says:

      Jean Rollin’s horror films are mostly fairly fantastic…the ones I’ve seen anyway. Definitely worth checking out his 70s stuff; I loved Fascination, Lips of Blood and this one.

  3. At first the idea of having sex in a graveyard seemed morbid. Then I saw Francoise Pascal and locations didn’t seem all that important… then I saw the clown! Genuinely creepy.

    On a serious note, another 5/5. Is Rollin in your top-tier of directors?

    Rollin sounds like Takashi Shimizu – he reuses ideas and locations as he refines his horror techniques. This one sounds interesting even though not a lot seems to happen.

    • goregirl Says:

      You know I have to admit I hadn’t seen as many Rollin films as I thought I had. I’m a big fan of Grapes of Death and Living Dead Girl which are both more straight up horror films but there was a lot of his early stuff I needed to see. I am REALLY loving these 70s films, I probably would have put Rollin on my top fifty favourite directors list if I had done that list now.

  4. […] A young woman alone on the beach finds something that appears to be a rose sculpted from iron. Later she is seen at a wedding reception where she meets a young man. The two make a date and meet with their bicycles at the train yard. They eventually come upon a graveyard and decide to take a tour. The couple have sex inside a crypt and when they emerge later it is dark. When they are unable to find their way out of the graveyard fear sets in and their imaginations get the better of them. The Iron Rose was Rollin’s first foray outside of the vampire genre and is psychological horror. The Iron Rose is deliberately paced with an atmosphere of oppression, mystery and foreboding. Hugues Quester gives a strong performance as the young man but it is Francoise Pascal’s performance that really mesmerizes. Pascal’s natural beauty and ease make her easy to watch but her range of emotion and her subtle trip into madness is what really shines in The Iron Rose. A simply gorgeous, poetic and hypnotizing film and absolutely one of Jean Rollin’s finest. To read my full review for The Iron Rose click here. […]

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