If you visit the Dungeon regularly you already know I have had a Jean Rollin fixation the past few months. The obsession continues with The Shiver of the Vampires! I fully expected to enjoy the film but not nearly as much as I did! The Shiver of the Vampires definitely ranks among my favourites from Rollin and from the vampire sub-genre period. I have a large appreciation of Rollin’s work and while you can not deny the reoccurring themes and settings each piece feels like a unique entry. The Shiver of the Vampires is richly atmospheric but it is also the most humorous entry I’ve seen from Rollin’s repertoire. There is a heavy hippie vibe mixed in with the gothic goodness and the humour was the perfect touch. The film’s three vampires are an eccentric trio. The film’s two male cousins (who remained nameless) are two of the most flamboyant and entertaining vampires I have happened upon. The two afflicted men were formerly vampire slayers. I especially loved the way Rollin’s camera follows these two, back and forth like a tennis match or round and round in circles. It went a long way to amping up the duos quirky behavior. Isolde is the vampire who made them; a skinny intense broad with one wacky 70s-licious wardrobe. She is like Houdini the way she just appears in a scene. This unholy trinity is an absolute delight!
The Shiver of the Vampires is stylish, sexy, strange, funny and totally enthralling. I love the different color tints Rollin uses; the shades of lavender, blue, green, sepia, it all lends so well to the dream logic of the proceedings. The crumbling castle and its outrageous decor, the graveyard rituals, the beautiful countryside and of course the beach are all wonderful eye-candy. In the eye-candy category there is an array of lovely ladies to behold; often nakedly. With so many brilliant stills to choose from I had a hard time deciding which to eliminate. I saved so many damn pictures in fact that I created two slideshows using the wickedly wild music from its soundtrack provided by Acanthus (coming soon!). Enter if you dare into Shiver of the Vampires country…
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.
Nicole Nancel plays Isabelle; here she attends the sepia-toned funeral of her two lovers.
Kuelan Herce and Marie-Pierre Castel play two female servants or “ghouls” if you will.
Dominique plays Isolde a powerful vampire who spends the entire film “popping up” here and there. She comes sliding down a chimney, up a well, out of a clock and from behind curtains. Here she “pops up” from her grave.
Sandra Julien and Jean-Marie Durand play Isla and Antoine who stop to visit Isla’s cousins at their castle.
The ghouls welcome them.
Isolde introduces herself to Isla by entering her room through a grandfather clock while she is undressing.
The castle at night.
Isla donates some blood.
Jacques Robiolles and Michel Delahave play the cousins… here the boys are post-indulgance. These two are seriously entertaining!
Antoine enters the violent library (Violent Library is the name of a piece of music on the soundtrack for this film). Books come flying from the shelves at him!
The ghouls serve many purposes besides preparing meals for long-lost relatives.
Isla is once again visited by Isolde.
Isolde in a bat-shit crazy costume! Those are some dangerous looking pasties!
One of the ghouls attends to Isabelle.
The final ceremony…the ghouls prepare in matching outfits.
A ritual for Isla, It is her family’s fate.
The cousins feed on Isla.
Isolde’s coffin is set on fire.
Isolde feeds on herself.
The ghouls look on.
Isla awakes on the beach.
The Shiver of the Vampires gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score!
Dungeon Rating: 5/5
Directed By: Jean Rollin
Starring: Sandra Julien, Jean-Marie Durand, Jacques Robiolles, Michel Delahaye, Marie-Pierre Castel, Kuelan Herce, Nicole Nancel, Dominique