Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 13th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1981
Director: Jean Rollin
Writer: Jean Rollin, Jacques Ralf
Cast: Laurence Dubas, Christiane Coppé, Marianne Valiot, Patrick Perrot, Louise Dhour, Brigitte Lahaie, Nathalie Perrey, Jean-Loup Philippe
DVD released: March 31st, 2009
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The Escapees is one of lesser seen films from French erotica director Jean Rollin. The plot for The Escapees is a departure from the lesbian vampires and the world of the fantastic that is prevalent in Jean Rollin’s other films. Another area in which The Escapees diverges from the bulk of Jean Rollin cinema is that there is very little nudity, most of which occurs during the film’s conclusion.
The plot for The Escapees like Jean Rollin’s other films is minimalist with the whole film feeling like a series of random events that occur to the two girls who have escaped from an asylum. Some of the scenes like a junkyard cabaret with erotic dancers feel overlong. The film’s daunting running time of 102 minutes is a test of endurance that loses steam before the film’s final act. Two scenes that linger on long after the film’s final images have faded. Include an ice skating scene with one of the girls who escaped from the asylum and the film’s climax which features Brigitte Lahaie in a brief cameo.
Outside of a few familiar faces like Louise Dhour, Nathalie Perrey, Jean-Loup Philippe and Brigitte Lahaie. The bulk of the cast is made up of actors / actresses, in which this is the only film that they appeared in. Performance wise none of the cast really stand out. Ultimately despite its flaws The Escapees features a few magical moments that are undeniably Jean Rollin.
The Escapees is presented in a letterboxed widescreen. Judging by the framing of the image this looks like the film is presented in its original aspect ratio. The source materials used for this transfer are in great shape as colors look nicely saturated and details look crisp throughout. There is some mild edge enhancement that is never intrusive. Unfortunately this transfer like all of Redemptions other US Jean Rollin has not been flagged for progressive playback.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono in French. Outside of some very minor hiss / background noise the all audio fares well. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras include a stills gallery with eleven images and trailers for other Redemption titles that are also available on DVD. The main extra included on this release is a interview with director Jean Rollin (28 minutes 23 seconds – in French with English subtitles), who discuses The Escapees, Night of the Hunted, collaborating with screenwriter Jacques Ralf and actress’s Louise Dhour and Brigitte Lahaie. Overall The Escapees makes its US DVD debut via a well rounded release from Redemption Films that is highlighted by a superb interview with Jean Rollin.