Archive for annie belle

Favourite Five Series: JEAN ROLLIN

Posted in Favourite Five Series, France, Jean Rollin, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2013 by goregirl

The Favourite Five Series is a project I have wanted to start for some time. I get asked regularly on Twitter what my favourite film(s) are from a particular director or actor/actress. If you are interested in checking out the work of a particular director or actor it can be a daunting task deciding where to begin. I have watched several films from French director Jean Rollin this year so it seemed like the ideal person to begin my project with. Jean Rollin has 52 director credits listed on IMDB; I have seen 17 of these efforts. Rollin’s films have style, ethereal imagery, haunting atmosphere, vampirism, gothic backdrops, breathtaking locations, gorgeous sets, beautiful women in gauzy dresses and the beach (Jean Rollin does love the beach). Just a few of the things that make the director’s films a pleasure to view. I have enjoyed the vast majority of the films I’ve seen from Jean Rollin and would definitely rank him among my favourite horror directors. Rollin did make several adult films as well, which I have seen just a smattering of; this particular list is strictly Mr. Rollin’s horror films. Honorable mention goes to The Grapes of Death and The Nude Vampire.

THE LIVING DEAD GIRL (1982)

The Living Dead Girl is the only film on this list of five I have not reviewed. It did make my top ten for 1982 however. A young woman named Catherine is brought back from the dead after an earthquake disturbs some barrels of toxic waste, The woman awakes with a thirst for blood and returns to her former home the Valmont mansion. Catherine is joined by her childhood friend Hélène who lures victims for her to feed on. A nosy photographer catches a photo of Catherine and asks around town about the woman. She is told that the woman in the photo died two years ago. Is Catherine a zombie or a vampire? Daylight doesn’t bother her and she doesn’t have fangs, but she isn’t braindead either. The film also goes by the name Lady Dracula (West Germany) and Zombie Queen (Japan). Does it matter whether Catherine is a zombie or a vampire? Not at all. The Living Dead Girl is adorned with Rollin’s usual visual flare; great sets and locations and lovely ladies. Françoise Blanchard as Catherine Valmont is particularly appealing. Unlike his earlier efforts however this one has gore. A fair amount of gore too. Rollin has been candid about his dislike of gore and he seems slightly less comfortable in this territory. As much as I love The Living Dead Girl I admit it is not as slick as the other four films on this list. Nonetheless The Living Dead Girl is a personal favourite that had to be included.

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FASCINATION (1979)

The Parisian privileged visit the abattoir to drink ox blood in an effort to cure anemia. Meanwhile a gentleman by the name of Mark escapes some fellow thieves with a bag of gold coins. He happens upon a mansion where he meets Elisabeth and Eva. Mark attempts to take charge but the two beautiful women flirt with him and eventually seduce him. They are more than happy to let him take cover from the gang of thieves waiting nearby. The mysterious Elisabeth and Eva are preparing for the arrival of the Marchioness and Mark would be the perfect addition to the guest list. Fascination is brimming with atmosphere and its cast is top-notch. Much of the film focuses on Eva and Elizabeth played by the lovely Brigitte Lahaie and Franca Mai and their unfortunate thieving guest Marc played by Jean-Marie Lemaire. As is the case with all of Rollin’s early stuff there is very little graphic violence. There is however an entertaining scythe versus knife fight. While there is the drinking of blood, this is not a vampire film. Fascination is a beautiful, sexy, haunting film full of lovely images complimented by a melodically eerie soundtrack, an intriguing premise and devilishly delightful performances. To read my full review for Fascination click here.

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LIPS OF BLOOD (1975)

A picture used in a perfume ad sparks a childhood memory in Frédéric. He recalls meeting a beautiful woman dressed in white as a child. Jennifer, the young woman gives him shelter where he sleeps for a while until she sends him off to his worried mother. Frédéric locks the gate behind him promising to return. Frédéric questions his mother about the events who attempts to convince him that they never occurred. He believes Jennifer may dwell there still and is soon embarking on a journey to find her. Along the way he awakens four female vampires and attracts the attention of some unsavoury sorts who want to prevent him from accomplishing his task. This is Frédéric and Jennifer’s story; a gothic romance with a vampire twist. Lips of Blood is full of beautiful surreal scenes not to mention a breath-taking finale! It ranks as one of my favourite finales in a vampire film. The kill scenes are all stylish and appealing albeit not graphic and Rollin adds some great flourishes like the bats in the coffins. Jean-Loup Philippe is strong as Frédéric and the bewitching, fresh-faced Annie Belle is absolutely lovely as Jennifer. Lips of Blood is a beautiful, haunting and deliciously sexy film with a gothic vibe and a great jazzy score. To read my full review for Lips of Blood click here.

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THE SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES (1971)

Newlyweds Isla and Antoine stop to visit Isla’s cousins. Isabelle, a woman claiming to be the men’s lover informs Antoine that Isla’s cousins are dead. The couple decide to visit the castle anyway. They are greeted by two nubile female servants and are put up for the night. Isla, upset by the news of her cousin’s deaths sends Antoine to sleep elsewhere. While undressing Isla is visited by a woman named Isolde who seduces and feeds on her. The restless Antoine checks on Isla; finding her missing he searches the castle. Antoine witnesses a disturbing ritual so surreal he thinks he might have dreamt it. It will not be the last disturbing or surreal sight for Antoine as the couple soon learn the mystery behind the cousin’s demise. The Shiver of the Vampires is jammed packed with atmosphere but it is also Rollin’s most humorous entry thanks to the two eccentric cousins. Jacques Robiolles and Michel Delahave are absolutely superb in their roles. Sandra Julien and Jean-Marie Durand who play Isla and Antoine, Kuelan Herce and Marie-Pierre Castel who play the two female servants and especially Isolde played by Dominique are all memorable in their roles. The Shiver of the Vampires is particularly stylish and I really enjoyed Rollin’s use of color. The crumbling Castle and its decor are completely outrageous and fantastic! The Shiver of the Vampires is stylish, sexy, strange, funny and totally enthralling. To read my full review for The Shiver of the Vampires click here.

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THE IRON ROSE (1973)

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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LIPS OF BLOOD (1975) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in France, horror, Jean Rollin, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2013 by goregirl

It is really difficult to review a Jean Rollin film and not throw around words like dreamy, haunting and ethereal. These reviews are going to feel more than a touch redundant by the time I get the Rollin out of my system. Lips Of Blood is a vampire film and the most traditional of the four Rollin films I have watched in the last couple of weeks. Vampires bite necks, drink blood and die from stakes to the heart. Lips of Blood takes place in modern-day 1970s. The central character Frédéric is fully immersed in the modern world as we meet him at a party for the launch of a new perfume. The place Frédéric is eventually led to seemed like it belonged to another time; some place ancient and gothic; it felt like a dream. Yes. That word…dream, it is just so very apt.

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A picture used in a perfume ad sparks a childhood memory in Frédéric. He recalls meeting a beautiful woman dressed in white as a child. The woman gives him shelter where he sleeps for a while. The woman wakes him some time later and sends him off to his worried mother. Frédéric locks the gate behind him promising to return. Frédéric questions his mother about the events who attempts to convince him that they never occurred. He believes the woman may dwell there still and seeks to find the location in the photograph. He arranges to meet the photographer only to discover she has been paid to stay quiet. Jennifer the woman in his vision begins appearing to him and he is soon embarking on a journey to find her. Along the way he awakens four female vampires and attracts the attention of some unsavoury sorts who want to prevent him from accomplishing his task.

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This was my third viewing of Lips of Blood; clearly I am fond of the film. Technically speaking the film is not without flaws especially in the horror department. The vampire fangs are pretty corny and appear to be giving the actresses wearing them some difficulty. The gore is little more than some vivid red blood splashed about here and there. Yet I would not change a thing about it. While lacking gore the kill scenes are all stylish and appealing. I thought the bats in the coffins were a real nice touch too. Four vampire women who never utter a word; a blond and a brunette in sheer gowns and twin sisters. Working in pairs or all four ascending on a single victim; the wind blowing their hair and billowy gowns. Rollin knows how to make death pretty. Lips of Blood however is really Frédéric and Jennifer’s story.

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The story features some lovely flourishes and has a romantic tone about it. Frédéric’s childhood meeting with Jennifer was a brief encounter that he had erased from his mind completely. Forgotten no doubt with some assistance from his mother. His mother began acting strangely after he told her about his memory. It is apparent that mother knows more than she is letting on. Jennifer could not appear to Frédéric until he remembered her on his own. When she does materialize she keeps her distance. She first appears to Frédéric while he is inside a movie theatre. The theatre featured a large poster for Jean Rollin’s The Nude Vampire; it was a really beautiful and surreal scene. The whole bloody thing is full of beautiful surreal scenes not to mention a breath-taking finale! It ranks as one of my favourite finales in a vampire film.

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It would not be a Jean Rollin film if it wasn’t loaded with attractive women and copious amounts of nudity. Lips of Blood features lovely lasses aplenty including twin sisters Catherine and Marie-Pierre Castel. Frédéric is up to his armpits in women! Women are hanging off of him at the perfume launch as an over-bearing mother lurks nearby. Jennifer is quite unlike any of the women in his life. Jean-Loup Philippe is strong as Frédéric and it is easy to see how he could be bewitched by the fresh-faced and lovely Annie Belle who plays Jennifer.

lips of blood4Two female vampires.

lips of bloodCatherine and Marie-Pierre Castel as vampire sisters.

lips of blood8Jennifer and Frédéric on the beach.

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Lips of Blood’s wonderfully haunting and deliciously sexy gothic vibe, drips with atmosphere and features a great jazzy score. Like every Rollin film I’ve reviewed thus far the locations and sets are amazing and add so much to the look and feel of his films. And the beach. Oh how Rollin loves his beach. Several of his films feature not only a finale on the beach but one particular stretch of beach that features a long fence. Lips of Blood is like a fairy tale for adults that features a vampire instead of a princess. My highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Jean Rollin

Starring: Jean-Loup Philippe, Annie Belle, Natalie Perrey, Martine Grimaud, Catherine Castel, Marie-Pierre Castel, Helene Maguin, Anita Berglund, Claudine Beccarie, Beatrice Harnois, Sylvia Bourdon

HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , on January 4, 2010 by goregirl

‘House On The Edge Of The Park’ was a recommendation left for me some time ago. Directed by Ruggero Deodato the man behind ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, I was all ramped up for some extreme violence. ‘House’ has its disturbing moments to be sure but the film is actually a slow boil and is almost gore-free. It is a film that definitely gets under your skin though.

Mechanic Alex and his friend Ricky invite themselves to the party of an attractive socialite couple after they pull into his garage with car troubles. When it becomes obviously that the group are having fun at their expense Alex lays siege and terrorizes the group. But the group of attractive well-to-do’s may have their own agenda.

In the films opening scene we see Alex forcing a woman to stop her car, who he then rapes and strangles to death. ‘House On The Edge Of The Park’ is a harsh film, make no mistake about it. But for a harsh film not all that much really happens. Alex is a rather unsavoury character, but the group of young, arrogant well-to-do’s don’t exactly garner any empathy. The only character in this film I had any sympathy for at all is Alex’s simple friend Ricky. Well, him and poor Cindy, the neighbour who drops by uninvited. Poor Cindy is in the films most brutal scene, and she even gets her own theme song. I was engrossed by the stark and brutal film style and it definitely has a sleazy exploitative quality. I did have some issues with ‘House’ however. I felt really annoyed by the group’s inability, or outright refusal to fight back. This is explained to some extent in the films ending but still didn’t work for me. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the ending. On one hand it does answer some questions, but on the other hand it poses a few new ones that are never answered.

The performances are pretty good. David Hess cuts an intimidating figure and is a memorable sociopath. Giovanni Lombardo Radice is convincing as Ricky, his dim-witted friend. He emulates Alex but is incapable of being his equal. This is clear in a scene where Alex insists he have his way with one of the women at the party. Ricky cannot bring himself to violate the shaking and crying woman. Annie Belle is spot on as the snobby Lisa and takes teasing to a whole new level. At one point in the film she actually invites Alex to shower with her and refuses to see it through.

It’s not much of a surprise when Alex goes ape shit on the group. It’s clear he hasn’t come for the martinis and the good company. The group have a lot of fun at Ricky’s expense, getting him drunk and then cheering him on as he does a striptease and then stealing all his money in a rigged poker game. Meanwhile Lisa is teasing the hell out of Alex, who all things considered, seems to be on his best behaviour. But his last nerve is trampled on and all shit breaks loose. Both male party guests have the snot beaten out of them. One of the guys is thrown into the pool to cool down and is then pissed on by Alex. He spends the rest of the film tethered to the leg of a coffee table. But it’s the women in the film that endure the real humiliation.

There is lot’s of nudity in this film. The camera lingers often on the naked bodies of its female cast. Even Hess gets naked. But if you are looking for a body count, you’ll want to look elsewhere. ‘House On The Edge Of The Park’s’ strong menacing atmosphere is quite effective but it is a little slower paced than I would have expected. The inability of the victims to fight back as well as an iffy ending did leave a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth, but I still found the film strangely compelling. The films soundtrack is excellent and that Cindy Oh Cindy song still haunts me. The disc we rented had a lengthy interview with Hess that is actually quite interesting, as well as considerably shorter interviews with Giovanni Lombardo Radice and director Ruggero Deodato. Enjoy would be the wrong word to use here, but I actually liked this film. Recommended…with warning.

Dungeon Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

Starring: David Hess, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Marie Claude Joseph, Gabriele Di Giulio, Brigitte Petronio, Karoline Mardeck, Lorraine De Selle