Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 18th, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1970
Director: Jean Rollin
Cast: Olivier Martin, Maurice Lemaître, Caroline Cartier, Ly Lestrong, Bernard Musson, Jean Aron, Catherine Castel, Marie-Pierre Castel
DVD released: November 13th, 2007
Approximate running time: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: A young man named Pierre encounters a beautiful woman who is being chased by people wearing animal masks for heads. Pierre quickly discovers that his father is responsible for this keeping this mysterious woman with a rare blood disorder captive. Pierre’s father believes that this woman’s blood is the missing link to finding immortality. Will Pierre’s infatuation with this mysterious woman bring him one step closer the immortality his father so desperately seeks?
The Nude Vampire was Jean Rollin’s second feature film and his first film in color. Visually Rollin’s use of color is striking especially red never takes away from the films baroque and picturesque compositions. What I find most stratifying about Rollin’s use of color for the first time is how many of shots despite being shot in color have a black & white quality to them.
Lately I have been revisiting the films of Jean Rollin and the thing that immediately grabs while watching his films is just how minimal everything is especially dialog and character backgrounds. Rollins screenplay is also very minimalist with very little being said verbally while so much is being said visually. It is almost like you are watching a silent film while watching The Nude Vampire.
Performance wise Caroline Cartier makes her film debut as the mysterious women with the strange blood disease. Cartier on the surface has very little to outside of looking beautiful and drinking blood and somehow she is the one performance that sticks out the most in the Nude Vampire. There are many bizarre things which occur and the inclusion of twins servant girls played by Catherine Castel and Marie-Pierre Castel is one of the films more surreal aspects. The Castel sisters’ characters are ambiguous and sinister at the same time. The rest of the cast’s performances are more then adequate.
The nude Vampire is a hypnotic tale which cleverly mixes elements of Science fiction, vampirism and immortality. The film also features a suicide cult who randomly chooses there next victims. Violence is mostly self-inflicted in the Nude Vampire and despite its risqué title there is not enough flesh on parade. There are a lot of signs of what is yet to come from director Jean Rollin and yet this early effort is also appealing because it is not as filled with the usual Jean Rollin clichés. Ultimately The Nude Vampire is a solid early effort from director Jean Rollin with its many memorable images and fascinating take on immortality.
Redemption Films presents The Nude Vampire in a letterboxed widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. The transfer overall does exhibit strong colors, sharp detail and outside of some very minor print damage the source used is in very good shape.
This release comes with only one audio mix an English dubbed audio track. The audio mix is more than adequate as it offers just enough sound at the right times and there are major audio defects.
Extras include a photo gallery (4 stills), Les Amours jaunes image gallery (7 B&W stills) and English & French trailers for The Nude Vampire. The main extra for this release is the Jean Rollin short film Les Amours jaunes (12 minutes – in French with English subtitles). Also included with this release is a promo for the book “Blood & Honor” and trailers for other Redemption titles current on or soon to be released on DVD. One of Jean Rollin’s more experimental films gets a good release which could have been even better if the transfer was anamorphic and flagged for progressive scan instead of interlaced.