We're back again with another Jean Rollin film. For you non-film nerds, Rollin is a famous, French director of horror films from the '70s and '80s. In fact, he seems to be the only guy from that time period who was making them! That has obviously changed in the wake of the French New Wave Movement (see Ils,Frontier(es) and
Inside). In the history of this site, I've covered a few of his films. First was The Grapes of Death, a silly title for an actually-decent movie. Next came Zombie Lake, a film that is exactly the opposite. Lastly, Living Dead Girl was a film that a lot of people defend, but bored me to tears. On top of that, I've tried to watch Night of the Hunter- it's horrible. So with all that out of the way, let's discuss this movie. With a title like The Nude Vampire, how can it be anything but weird. Well, it is. The bigger question is this: is it good? Get out your animal mask collection for my review of...
The film begins with...a man in a bat mask. Sure- why not? He is joined by other people in red masks and a woman in a blue one. This is all within the first minute of the film and without any context, people! The woman in the blue mask disrobes and has a blood sample taken from her. Given the film's title, can we just guess who she is? Without any real segue, we cut to a woman running out of the building. She looks kind of like the woman in the blue mask, but it might not be her. She runs past a skinny man in the street, who notices the people in animal masks pursuing her. They eventually shoot her and casually walk away with her in their arms. Hello, logic- where did you go? It takes a good seven minutes (yes, I counted)before we get our first bit of dialog too. The man follows the masked men to a fancy house, but gets shooed away by the doorman for not having an invitation. He makes plans the next day to find out what is going on. Here's where this movie makes a simple scenario confusing. He puts on the rest of his suit with the aid of a half-naked woman and leaves. In the next scene, he's wearing a tuxedo instead and takes the ticket of another guest. Did you cut a scene, guys? He gets escorted into the party...where things get really, really odd.
The folks inside see a picture on a slide show and subsequentlycommit suicide with a pistol. After this, they put on their masks as a woman appears from behind a curtain and sucks that corpse's blood. When our heroes' picture comes up (how do they have that exactly?), he shoots the man and runs off. This is surprisingly easy, considering all the subterfuge. Finally, we get a hint of the plot. A trio of old men are experimenting on the woman from before because she's a vampire (duh) and her blood apparently holds the secret to immortality. One of the men is the father of our hero, which just raises more questions about the earlier scene. Him and a friend make plans to break into a different ceremony, since that's a good idea. In a completely random moment, a black woman shows up at the guy's house and dances in the nude. After five minutes of leering camera angles and super-tight close-ups, she lays down near the guy...but he leaves. What was the point of that? Oh right- boobs. To add more confusion to the mix, a man who dresses like a mix of Jim Jones and Superman talks about how he knows the secret of what is going on. Could you tell me please?
Basically, the cult guy is leading a resistance group against the three old guys. They want to free the vampire woman from the constant experimentation. But wait- there's more. The bad guys move to a new chateau and continue their experiments. Their female agent, however, learns that the half-naked twins are working with the cult and she kills them with a mace. That's quite random. The group shows up, consisting of old men, young men, women and a kid. Who brought their kid to the set of The Nude Vampire?!? The men do the only natural thing: fire automatic weapons at the group! This has no effect whatsoever, not even leaving any impact on their bodies. They chase the men away and free the vampire woman, alongside our hero. In addition, the twins appear to not be dead and kill the woman. I fail to see the point of this, but whatever. Our hero is led through a field to a house in order to learn his destiny. In it, he finds an old couple who lead him to a door that goes to...a beach. The father's companions leave, but he goes in through the same door. At the beach, we get the final plot dump of the film. The woman is not a vampire- she is from another dimension, as are the cult members. The dead leaves, knowing that his son is one of them. After a short monologue by the leader, the movie just ends.
This movie...is really, really weird!The plot is a vague mess that appears to tie together nudity and a small amount of blood. Mind you, The Grapes of Death was made a few years later and is considered France's first 'gore film.' Obviously it would be about thirty years before the world would get theirs in the form of An Inconvenient Truth. Bring on the hate mail! The whole thing is a weird mess. I mean, there are vampires, a cult and, now, aliens. What? Why? I just don't get it. The movie is supposed to tell me what exactly? I fail to see any rhyme or reason to this. Ignoring that, there are many other things to boggle the mind. The random nudity, for one. Another thing is that they have one scene that runs on way too long in an attempt to pad out the run-time. As the dad's two companions leave, we hold a steady shot of them walking up the field. Halfway through, they stop talking...but they still film them walking all the way back! Why?!? Apparently Human Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy was not the only one to think of this idea back then. Thankfully, your legacy lives on in piece of shit movies like Mr. Halloween. God bless you, pointlessly-extended tracking shot! In summary: weird, random and confusing. Welcome to Jean Rollin movies.
Up next, we wrap up this brief look at foreign horror with a Japanese film. It's got demons, lot of CG and Bob Sapp appearing for no good reason. Stay tuned...