THE IRON ROSE (1973) – The Dungeon Review!
By 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 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