JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: Requiem for a Vampire (1972)

Shot in a historical castle in the small village of Crêvecoeur, Requiem for a Vampire finds director Jean Rollin’s fourth female vampire movie. The castle was nice — it was filled with expensive antiques — but Rollin was more interested in the dungeons that overlooked the entire region.

Marie-Pierre Castel, who starred in Rollin’s The Nude Vampire and Shiver of the Vampires along with her twin sister Catherine, stars and is joined by Mireille Dargent, whose agent was stealing her wages for the movie and Rollin figured that out and got her paid.

They play Marie (Castel) and Michelle (Dargent), who first appear as clowns on the run from unseen pursuers. Their driver is killed and they race into the woods where they are nearly buried alive in a cemetery and then an ancient castle filled with bats and a cozy bed to make love in. The castle is filled with skeletons and a male and female vampire. Of course, the male has designs on them, wanting them for his virginal eternal vampire brides, but Michelle ends up sleeping with another man which ruins those plans and almost destroys her relationship with her true love Marie.

Rollin wrote this in one sitting, piling story beats on top of one another with little care for plausibility or any connection. Then again, when was he any different? Amazingly, this played American grindhouses as Caged Virgins, a title that I guess makes as much sense as anything. One wonders what people thought when confronted by a near-wordless journey of two clown girls trying to shoot everything in their way and setting a man on fire before both finding their way to a vampiric master who finally decides that his bloodline must end.

He was learning however and got past censors by shooting a version where the girls stayed clothed, even when being whipped and while they engaged in a sapphic embrace. Most countries can handle horrific violence; the form of a nude woman is where the problems begin.

This is the only movie I’ve ever seen where a vampire bat goes down on a woman, so for that alone, Jean Rollin has my respect if not obsession.

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