Halfway thru' the summer holidays here and the podlings are trapped inside by a hellish mix of wind and rain.
Typical Scottish summer then.
Whilst the twin terrors are quite happy amusing themselves making Monster High snuff vids, Cassatron has decided that re-arranging the shelves would be a good idea and after an hour of arranging all the Joe D'Amato stuff by breast size he dragged this out from behind a pile of Shaw Brothers VCD's with a huge cheesy grin on his face.
Of course we had to watch it straight away.
It's a perfect kids holiday movie, kinda like Thomas the Tank Engine with tits.
Tho' no-one in this film has lips as kissable as Emily.
Dir: Jean Rollin.
Cast: Marie George Pascal, Felix Marten, Serge Marquand, Mirella Rancelot, Patrice Valota, Patricia Cartier, Brigitte Lahaie, Olivier Rollin and Noel Fielding.
Button nosed elfin-esque cutie Elizabeth (Pascal, previously seen as Carla in the fantastic I Am Frigid... Why?) is enjoying a well deserved rail holiday with her blonde haired buck toothed pal thru' the quaint French countryside.
Taking in the scenery and giggling like a pair of schoolies, the couple are having a wonderful time until, that is, a strange French bloke (is there any other type?) with a half chewed caramel for a face bursts into their compartment and kills Elizabeth's plain friend.
Which is lucky seeing as I don't think Cassidy could've bared to look at such a freakish woman for ninety minutes, I mean he's only little.
In an action sequence that would make Bond proud Elizabeth quickly jumps off the (slow moving) train and runs like buggery along the train tracks toward a small village she noticed a few miles back.
Will she be safe?
Well it wont spoil anything to say that upon arrival she finds herself surrounded by a whole community of chewed faced Frenchies brandishing pitchforks in one hand and bottles of cheap wine in the other so I guess the answer is no.
But thinking about it it would have made for a really short movie had she turned up, told the local copper and had Mr. Melty arrested, which is probably why my scripts end up unsold.
Deciding the best thing to do is hide till everyone in the village is too drunk to walk, Elizabeth dunks into a ramshackle cottage only to be accosted by another melted faced mentalist who, without even a hello (or a sleazy chat up line) tries to kill her.
So that's the secret of a Frenchman's success with women.
Running away (again - it's a good job she's a fit lass) Elizabeth ends up hiding out in a deserted hilltop ruin where she comes across a strangely attractive, ginger-haired blind girl (the fluffily pillow breasted Rancelot, obviously auditioning for a part in a The Beyond tribute act) who, it turns out used to live in the village before all the crazy stuff started.
After swapping make up tips (as women do) the pair decided to head back to the village for a nosy about.
Which is when things start to get really freaky.
And I don't just mean the distinct lack of nudity - or the presence of an actual plot - which are normally concepts quite alien to Jean Rollin.
Or the fact that seemingly out of the blue former porn star Brigitte Lahaie turns up, all tight shirted and bouncy haired for the only reason than to crucify, then behead poor Rancelot leaving Elizabeth no choice but to (you guessed it) run away.
You see, it turns out that someone has been spraying an experimental pesticide on the grapes used to make the local wine, turning most of the French populace into scab faced, violent tempered loons.
Please note how I resisted adding a witty comment here.
Wandering around the barren hilltops looking for help, Elizabeth discovers the most disturbing thing all all regarding the infection when it appears that not everyone contaminated is affected in the same way.
Yes there are those odd few that stumble around, arms outstrecthed as the lurch toward their victims but then there are others that are still able to think rationally about their condition, even going as far as feeling remorseful at what the infection is forcing them to do.
Elizabeth however has no time for touchy feely French types and usually just runs away screaming before they start crying on her.
Or try to run her thru' with a pitchfork obviously.
Fearing accusations of being an anti-monster bigot, Elizabeth takes to also screaming at any uninfected folk that she meets too, which always seems to alert any passing madmen to their presence, meaning that these unfortunates usually end up on the wrong end of some pointy farm tool wielded by a dribbling sponge-faced foreigner.
Tho' luckily not the band.
After what seems like days of (non nude, non lesbian vampire filled) meanderings, she eventually meets up with a couple of high waisted, wellie wearing farmers who've amazingly managed to avoid the infection because, gulp, they hate the taste of wine, preferring beer instead.
How's that for luck?
But just as it seems Elizabeth’s luck is about to change and she's excitedly looking forward to a hot, dribbly sausage or two inside her, a bizarre series of coincidences and obvious plot twists happen, bringing her into contact with her (until now) unseen boyfriend.
Will he save not only the day but our oh so cute heroine too?
Look to all intents and purposes this is a zombie movie, so what do you think?
No matter how threadbare or cheese ridden his movies are, you can't help but love Jean Rollin.
He's like the curmudgeonly old uncle you only saw at Christmas, you know the one that always gave you Victorian Erotic postcards instead of birthday cards and, after he'd got you to admit how attractive you found the breasts on show would laughingly inform you that it's a picture of your Great Granny.
Second only to the incredible Zombie Lake, Les Raisins de la Mort is Rollin at his most accessible and audience friendly, owing more than a nod to Jorge Grau's fantastic Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and Romero's The Crazies rather than his Night of The Living Dead.
When it does feel the need to steal from Romero's classic however it uniquely does so in reverse, whereas Night's cast are trapped inside a farmhouse fighting for survival, Raisins Elizabeth is stranded on the windswept hilltops of rural France, the long lingering shots of Elizabeth alone and frightened make a startling counterpoint to the claustrophobic close-ups of the infected shuffling slowly from various dilapidated houses as the sun sets.
Above all else tho', the film is not only classic Rollin but classic Eurohorror to boot, pre-dating (and pissing on from a great height) modern virus based shockers like 28 Days Later by almost 30 years and finally proving that Rollin was capable of making a damn fine horror movie without having to resort to scantily clad, small chested lesbo vampires with dirty feet.
Tho' I'll be the first to admit, there is something warm and tingly about seeing them occasionally.
Especially if it's this pair:
Be seeing you.