Thursday, October 20, 2011
Requiem for a Vampire
I don't know what brought me to watch another Jean Rollin movie, considering that The Grapes of Death and Zombie Lake are two of the worst films I've seen in my life, but here I am trying him out again. And I bet it will happen again some day. I just want to understand what the deal is, why this maker of such ugly looking, tedious, stupid movies seems to have a legit cult following. I keep hoping one day I'm gonna watch one of these pieces of shit and something will click, and even if I don't like it, I'll at least get it.
I think I'm getting closer, but I'm not there yet. Requiem for a Vampire is terrible, but it kind of tricks you into thinking it's not terrible at first. (I think Grapes of Death might have done the same). It starts abruptly, in the middle of a car chase/shoot out, with the two women being chased by the cops while dressed as clowns with no explanation as to how any of this came to be. It sounds awesome, and in theory it is, although in classic Rollin fashion the actual chase is dull. Eventually the chase ends, the women torch their car (with their wounded accomplice still inside) and begin wandering the countryside. There's next to no dialogue during any of this, so for a while you're thinking "Ok, maybe this isn't terrible, it's just arty." You think the long shots of them walking around doing jack shit might be setting some sort of mood. You think it's leading somewhere.
I think this must be what Rollin fans feel; they see the flat, boring, stagey, silly nonsense as a bold stylistic choice, the see the lack of a coherent plot as surrealism, they see the shitty looking sets and costumes as deliberately sparse. But I think if you take a hard look, you'll see there's no there there. The film just descends into an incoherent mess of gratuitous, unsexy sex (and rape) scenes, lame attempts at titillation, and dull, unconvincing, meaningless violence. The sex is probably the worst because it's so icky. I don't say that as a prude; I love sex and nudity in films, and this movie has some gorgeous women that I very much looked forward to seeing naked. It's just that the scenes are awkwardly long and mechanical, and no fun. And Rollin doesn't seem to have the healthiest view of women and female sexuality, managing to both sexualize and infantalize the two women, often at the same time. Ick, dude.
Sort of the poor, perverted man's Lucio Fulci, Rollin does the microbudget horror thing and maybe tries to infuse with a little arthouse flavor, but he takes the worst elements of both worlds. This is by far the best of the three Rollin films I've seen and it's still the worst piece of shit I've watched all month. And I'm thankful for that. My pointless grades have been way too homoginized so far; everything has been mediocre to good, but nothing I haven't seen before has been great or terrible. Finally, something terrible.