Thursday, October 10, 2019

shiver my timbers.

Le Frisson Des Vampires (1971 AKA Sex and the Vampire, Strange Things Happen at Night, The Shiver of the Vampires, The Terror of the Vampires, Thrill of the Vampires, Vampire Thrills)
Dir: Jean Rollin.
Cast: Sandra Julien, Jean-Marie Durand, Jacques Robiolles, Michel Delahaye, Marie Pierre Castel, Kuelan Herce, Nicole Nancel and 'Dominique'.

The issue of Starburst with this
on the back cover
got confiscated during my lunchbreak
by my form teacher.

Our story opens (well it's not our story if I'm honest it's Monique Natan and Jean Rollins seeing as they wrote it but you know what I mean) somewhere in the French countryside where just outside a creepy castle, two of the dirtiest - and not in a good way -  laydees this side of Glasgow city centre on a Saturday night (moonheaded blonde poppet and teen crush Castel alongside the toothsome, lank haired Herce) gaze on drunkenly as the skinny minnie Isabelle (the slightly less sozzled but even more disease ridden Nancel) single handedly pops a couple of caskets into a cardboard crypt wall.

Yup definitely a Domfront gal.

Beanz meanz yeast infectionz.

Bored with staring aimlessly into the middle distance our toothsome twosome decide to go visit the castle tower in order to gaze instead at a couple of men that just happen to be chained to the wall, the stakes thru their chests making the two unfortunate fellas look like novelty coat hangers.

With his dying breath the one that can act (kind of) tells the maids to hurry to the graveyard and stake anybody who has died within the last week in case they turn into vampires.

Nodding in unison like a pair of novelty pug bookends the pair race to the cemetery.

I hope you're following this as scarily it's way more complicated to summarize this shite than to watch it.

Anyway on arriving at the graveyard the pervy pair are shocked (well apathetic) to see that the sultry Isolde (the mysterious - and painfully skinny - 'Dominique') has already risen from her grave.

And been busying herself tucking in to jam sandwiches by the look of her lips.

Recognizing a good deal when they see it - and by good deal I mean a chance to strip naked and coyly touch each others breasts -  the girls forget all about this vampire business and instead offer to serve the undead Isolde (alongside a couple of camp French blokes - are there any other kind? - who just happened to be hanging around) and help them entice unwary travelers to the house so that they may drink their blood.

And that quite frankly is why Brexit happened basically.

Dominique: up the casino, Benidorm, 1964.

With all that backstory and set up out of the way it's time to start the film good and proper and to that end we're introduced to the beautiful (and not to mention germ free) Ise (Julien, ask your dad) and her greasy mulleted husband Antoine (the rat-like Durand, ask your mum) who've just arrived at the castle after getting married.

Which begs the question what is it about European vampires and their obsession with newly weds visiting castles

Anyway it appears that Ise reckoned it'd be a good idea to combine her honeymoon with a visit to her overtly camp cousins.

As you do.

Plus as luck would have it another cousin died in the castle recently so it means she has a chance to have a wee cry about that whilst she's there too.

No doubt her new hubby is really happy with this plan but it's hard to tell seeing as he just stands there grinning and shuffling about uncomfortably in what looks like his dads suit.

Her unnamed cousins (Delahaye - tall, silver haired, lip wristed and fish lipped and Robiolles - lank haired, limper wristed and poppy eyed) seem way too happy to see little Ise and after much hugging, hair stroking, lip licking and knowing looks settle down for a slap up meal.

Davison and McGann are upset to hear that
David Tennant has all the best lines in the
75th Anniversary special 'The Nth Doctor'.

With a full tummy and a head full of grief at her (other) cousins' recent death, Ise goes all stroppy and makes Antoine sleep on the sofa.

Yup sounds like a normal wedding night.

Annoyed at not getting the chance to consummate their marriage but not wanting to come across as an unfeeling brute (or even just come across one....he's not that frustrated...yet) her hubby huffs n' shrugs before settling down for the night with a good book and the dog blanket whilst Ise drapes herself across the bed before adopting the patented horror film saucy virgin pose.

Wiggling and moaning in that sexily sweaty way that only girls in 1970's Eurohorror shlockers can, Ise is rudely awoken at midnight by Isolde noisily stepping out of a grandfather clock and our flaxen haired heroine is immediately entranced by this druggy (sorry, dusky) beauty.


Isolde wastes no time in taking Ise up the cemetery (ooeer), where she uncomfortably fondles her breasts before biting her neck.

Ise's descent into darkness (and lipstick lesbianism) has begun.


I mean come on, this is the only reason we're watching isn't it?

Marie Pierre Castel - dreamy.

Pity poor Antoine tho', the more he tries to get into his blushing brides - massive - pants the more distant and cold she becomes and, adding insult to injury whilst he's getting a crick neck from spending every night on the sofa she's getting bitten and fondled by her new vampiric lover.

Antoine's frustrations are soon at bursting point (and that's not all that's bursting from the way he's walking) and therefore, - in an effort to take his mind of his wifes admittedly peachy arse, decides to fill his days wandering aimlessly round the castle grounds shooting indiscriminately at pigeons.

This at least has the effect of bringing the couple together for a few minutes as every time he shoots one of the poor little buggers Ise darts out of the shadows and drinks its blood.

A classy date and no mistaking.

Hairy arse not shown.

Unfortunately for Antoine - but not for those of us that like a wee bit of early 70's girl on girl teasing - Ise is becoming more and more distant as she slowly transforms into a creature of the night.

By that I mean a vampire, not a taxi driver.

Tho' it is a fairly honorable and well loved profession so who am I to judge? 

Things may be about to chage tho' as one day as she's skulking about the castle Ise stumbles across Isolde's coffin sitting dangerously close to an open sunlit window.

Will she come to her senses, open the casket and kill Isolde or will she embrace (quite literally) her feminine side and complete her transformation into a saucy vampire vixen?

Go on, guess.

What your mum really gets up to at bingo nights.

As is the way with such films, you wait 30 minutes for a plot twist and two come at once, you see after years of serving their undead masters the two maids have actually been planning a way to escape from their nightmarish existence of serving drinks, fondling each other on a nightly basis and having their breasts exposed by the cousins after dinner for the amusement of guests.

Tho' I've no idea why as it seems a pretty cushy job if you ask me.

Which you didn't so I'll shut the fuck up and continue with the synopsis.

But what is this plan?

Wait for it cos it's a doozy, involving as it does sabotaging Antoine's car in order to stop him grabbing Ise and driving away (tho' why he didn't think of that earlier I've no idea) therefore forcing him to confront the vampire family whilst they sneak out the back.

And this plan took years to come up with?

Marie-Pierre farted and it's an eggy one.

As if the plot wasn't confusing enough, the other 'cousin' - possibly, it's hard to tell/care - from earlier the stern Isabelle (Nancel, looking like your friends mum you used to fancy at school) bursts into the room looking quite annoyed.

It seems that she's only just realized that her ex-lovers have transformed into evil vampires.

Better late than never I guess.

A severe case of telling off ensues which the cousins stoically take on the chin.

Lets be honest tho' it's probably not the only unpleasant thing that they've had there is it?

Unfortunately Isabelle takes it too far (well she is a woman) and starts slagging off their purple loon pants and girly blouses, accusing them of the terrible crime of being 'unmanly and pathetic'.

Obviously being the one that chose their outfits, Isolde goes a wee bit mental and decides the best course of action would be to murder Isabelle with a handy spiked bra she just happened to be wearing.

And no, I didn't see that coming.

This in turn so enrages the cousins that they have no choice but to pin her down and violently put it in her her.

Which, if I'm honest kinda gives it the edge over Graham's conflict resolution on the Jeremy Kyle show.

Until they inadvertently  killed a guest obviously.

A butcher's dog yesterday.

Antoine by this point has understandably had enough of all these underfed lesbians, as well as the crack whore maids who've by this point taken to jumping into his bed to steal his jammie bottoms and the least said about the piss and gin soaked camp cousins the better, so he decides to change into his best action slacks and confront the twee twosome with a crucifix.

But after a frankly pathetic struggle that would shame even two seven year old schoolgirls they slap him about for a bit and tie him up.

As he wriggles limply on the hall carpet sniffling like a girl and begging Ise for help the cousins camply giggle at him as they lead his beloved wife away for her final 'initiation'.

Deciding to push their escape plan ahead the maids untie Antoine, wiping his nose before pointing him in the direction of the graveyard.

Surprisingly for such an ineffectual lead he actually manages to follow the directions, making it to the graveyard without tripping over or bumping into something and also manages to succeed in abducting Ise before the ritual is complete, much to the annoyance of the cousins who mince after him waving their arms like angry camp seagulls.

At this point I'd like to add that this is no way meant as a slight to seagulls anywhere.

Camp or otherwise.

It is, in fact just a cheap attempt at humour.

I've no idea why I've felt that I have to point this out but with how sensitive everyone is these days I thought it for the best.

Whilst all this is going on a frankly bored Isolde decides to retire to the relative comfort of her coffin (for crack and buns obviously) only to find that the maids have set fire to it and surrounded the vampiric junkie with big crucifixes.


The fire must rage for weeks tho' as she actually dies of hunger after trying to bite her own neck.

And with this the maids skip away hand in hand for a joyous, vampire free life of soap free lesbian sex.

Which we never see.

Pity that.

Forget the ample arse, check the tide
mark round her waist. Dirty cow.

But let's not dwell on what could have been and return to the here and now where we find our hero Antoine running across a beach carrying Ise to safety.

I must admit he looks very out of breath tho' so either the beach is miles away or he's even weedier than he looks.

Unfortunately it's not long before the cousins have caught up with poor Antoine, kicking sand in his face and dead legging him.

Crying even more now he begs Ise to come with him - or at least to let him put it in her once - but she chooses to go with her cousins, leaving Antoine sobbing like a wee boy who's had his football stolen by the big boys, blubbing and shaking in the sand.

Turning her back on her man (well her ex man....can't he take a hint?) she slinks toward her cousins who then nibble her neck, strip her naked and fondle her senseless till the sun rises and fries all three of them in an orgy of blood, sweat, egg and semen.

I would so hate to be their local launderette.

Distraught and confused, Antoine runs around the beach, firing off his pistol stumbles about like a loon.

There are those who will tell you that Jean Rollin was a purveyor of fine motion pictures and that if you look beyond the crass sex scenes and stilted performances that a hidden gem of art house cinema will appear.

This is, of course utter shite, I mean come on, this is the man responsible for Zombie(s) Lake.

Those of us who don't have hang ups about such things love and adore him for what he truly was.

A lovably dirty old man with an arse - and shoe - fetish.

And you'll all agree I'm sure that there's nowt wrong with that.

Appearing in the mid ground of his 'female vampire' obsession (following on from Le Viol du vampire in 1968 and La Vampire nue in '69) Le Frisson Des Vampires is the most accomplished of Rollin's vampire epics and an obvious influence, both thematically and storywise on Vicente Aranda Ezquerra's The Blood Spattered Bride released the following year.

Tho' Ezquerra could actually direct.

And afford to hire actual actors.

At once both cheap and cheerful and as pretentious as a first year art student it's moments of surreal genius (Dominique sleeping in a grandfather clock) are cruelly juxtaposed with arse numbing scenes of plotless ramblings and random snatches of female nudity.

Exploitative rubbish or an artistically erotic masterpiece?

Well I know what I think.

If you've never experienced this little gem for yourself you really should rush out and buy it now so you can make up your own mind.

Just don't forget the tissues.

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