Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LIPS OF BLOOD (1975) d. Jean Rollin

Reviewed by Tracy Hook

LIPS OF BLOOD is a true fantasy vampire film. The director Jean Rollin takes us into a world of ancient castles, of family secrets and of nightmares. With this in mind, it's interesting to note that the story is set in modern times, that is 1975 when the film was made.

The story centers around a young man man named Frederic who has a horrible case of amnesia: he cannot remember his childhood ever since his father died. His amnesia starts to lift when he attends a party with his mother and notices an advertisement that features a desolate landscape of ruins and an overcast sky. The picture sets off a series of lifechanging events, when childhood memories come flooding back to him. He remembers playing amoung the ruins in the photograph and encountering a young girl who takes him in and lets him rest inside the ruins. Frederic remembers the love he felt for this girl, how she held him throughout the night and, of course, her beauty. The feelings that Frederic feels drives him onto a quest to find the place where the photo was taken.

Frederic is running through the streets of Paris through the greater part of this film which gets a little tedious. But that's alright, because he unknowingly awakens several buxom bloodthirsty babes in the process. The female vampires are not after Frederic we find out, but are helping him. We, the viewers, see how these vampire girls can really get the job done too, and with a minimal amount of clothing while doing it.

Heterosexual men will love this film, there's plenty of vampiric full frontal female nudity. The story is very masculine, but not misogynistic. (See Jean Rollin's feminine film The Living Dead Girl for his more feminine side). At the beginning we see Frederic caring for his aging mother. He actually seems like a "mama's boy" as he does her every bidding. His mother even drives away a pretty young thing who's talking to Frederic at the party. She interferes any chance she gets on Frederic's mission to find the ruins and find the girl he fell in love with as a boy. She even has the men in white coats take him away at one point.

Towards the end I started to worry about Frederic when his mother orders him to kill the girl and bring her the head (sounds Biblical doesn't it?). But I won't spoil the ending for you. The film takes on the issue of breaking away from mother and getting out into the world (you know... meeting girls and actually getting your own place!). It seems Frederic has lived a sheltered life due to his memory loss. (I think it's implied that he resides with his mother). He's faced with the choice of suckling at mother's teet or cohorting with vampire ladies wearing sheer curtains as their only clothes. When you watch this movie, and I do recommend you watch it, you will see the choice that Frederic makes.

The look of the film is absolutely stunning in some scenes. The large castle in the film is lit with blue lights. The viewer can see every brick in the turrets. Bright colors are used especially during vampire attack scenes. I've had the pleasure of seeing other Rollin films like THE DEMONIACS, THE LIVING DEAD GIRL and REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE. Rollin loves color almost as much as he likes nude women in his films. (Almost!) It seems the more clolorful the film the more violent it is. THE DEMONIACS is full of bright reds, dark blacks, and bright blues and is also full of blood and lust. LIPS OF BLOOD is slightly less colorful and less violent. The film has no gore and some blood. Be sure to watch it with your mother. It's put out by Redemption which is "Mom" approved.

Salvation Films

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