Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 5th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: France, 2002
Director: Jean Rollin
Writer: Jean Rollin
Cast: Cyrille Iste, Jacques Orth, Thomas Smith, Sandrine Thoquet, Magalie Madison, Céline Mauge, Marie-Laurence, Danièle Servais-Orth, Denis Tallaron, Sabine Lenoël, Céline Clémentel, Mira Petri, Marianna Palmieri, Bernard Musson, Nathalie Perrey, Catherine Castel, Dominique Treillou, Frédéric Legrand, Brigitte Lahaie, Thomas Desfossé
DVD released: September 29th, 2009
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A professor and his assistant try to locate Dracula’s grave before his reunited with his bride.
Dracula’s Fiancée was written and directed by Jean Rollin who rose to prominence in the 1970’s with his erotica films which often featured lesbians and vampires. Since the late 1980’s his output has slowed down due to heath problems. While the films from this part of his career are generally not as well as regarded as the films he made throughout the 1970’s and into the early 1980’s. This is not to say that these films do not have their moments. In particular Dracula’s Fiancée which is in this reviewer’s opinion is Jean Rollin’s most underrated film.
The plot for Dracula’s Fiancée may not be one of his more original. Despite its familiarity Dracula’s Fiancée is undeniably a film that could have only come from one filmmaker, Jean Rollin. The film features many monsters and motifs that have appeared in various films throughout Jean Rollin’s filmography. Visually Jean Rollin’s poetic style of storytelling remains intact and is as lucid as ever. The film like all of his films that have preceded it, is filled with Jean Rollin’s subversive sense of humor. Even though there is not as much flesh on display as one would except from a Jean Rollin, at least there is an ample amount of bloodshed (including a character that eats babies).
This film’s greatest asset is its leading lady Cyrille Iste, who has sadly not appeared in any other films. She perfectly captures the mysteriousness and allure of Isabelle, Dracula’s Fiancée. The cast features a few Jean Rollin regulars Brigitte Lahaie (Fascination), Catherine Castel (The Nude Vampire) and Nathalie Perrey (Lips of Blood). Performance there is not a single performance that is lacking as the entire cast excels in their respective roles especially the actresses cast in the roles of the nuns.
One of the more enjoyable aspects about this film is that it is filled with eccentric characters most notably the nuns who each are given their own specific vice, which is then over exaggerated. Other characters include a midget, an ogress, a vampire woman and a she-wolf. The score for Dracula’s Fiancée was composed by Philippe D’Aram who previously worked with scored Jean Rollin on the film The Escapees. Overall Dracula’s Fiancée is Jean Rollin’s best film since The Living Dead Girl.
Redemptions Films presents Dracula’s Fiancée in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. This transfer is in very good shape as colors look nicely saturated and at times lively, flesh tones look healthy, details generally look crisp and black levels look strong throughout. This is the second North American DVD release of Dracula’s Fiancée with the previous DVD release under the title of Fiancee of Dracula that was released by Media Blasters sub label shriek Show in 2002. The Shriek Show DVD like the Redemption Films DVD is also an interlaced transfer. The main difference between the two transfers is the Redemption Films looks sharper than the Shriek Show transfer. The two things from that release that have not been ported over for this release from Redemption Films include a ten minute interview which is unfocused as the interviewers have trouble coming up with questions for Jean Rollin to answer and the awful English dubbed audio track from the Shriek Show release has thankfully been omitted from this release. The Redemption Films release appears to be a PAL to NTSC conversion with the time length coming in at 90:41 while the previous DVD release from Shriek Show clocks in at about 94:32. Both releases are completely uncut.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in French and removable English subtitles have been provided. The subtitles are east to read and free of any errors. The audio is in great shape as it always sounds clear and balanced.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 49 seconds – letterboxed widescreen – in French no English subtitles) and an extensive stills gallery that plays with music from the film in the background. The main extra included with this release is an interview with Jean Rollin titled “Jean Rollin: a Retrospective” (20 minute 19 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – in French with English subtitles). The interview with Jean Rollin covers the various stages of his career and locations he often uses. Also included with this release are trailers for Girl on a Motorcycle, Fascination, St. Francis and Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh, all of these title’s are currently available DVD from redemption Films. Overall Dracula’s Fiancée gets a good audio/ video presentation from Redemption Films.