JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: The Mask of Madusa (2006)

It was thought that Jean Rollin’s 2007 film House of Clocks was his final film of his career, but then he made this one-hour short which was screened at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse. Then, he added twenty minutes of additional scenes and cut the film into two distinct parts just like The Rape of the Vampire.

Instead of vampires, this is the story of three sisters, Medusa, Stheno, and Eurydice. Rollin’s wife Simone plays Madusa as she stalks the stages of the Grand Guignol after her sister Euryale (Sabine Lenoël) and she have had a psychic battle that left one mindless and the other blind. A girl (Gabrielle Rollin, Jean’s granddaughter) plays for the reptiles and is turned to stone and then we hear a long conversation between a janitor (Jean-Pierre Bouyxou) and the figure of myth surrounded by posters advertising past bloody performances.

After a shocking battle between Stheno and Meduda, the second part really feels like the past films.  Stheno(Marlène Delcambre) wanders a cemetery holding the head of her sister, meets Cornelius (Delphine Montoban) and says things like “The two orphan vampires danced on the graves in Père Lachaise. We’ll dance under them,” before the two dance to a song from Fascination.

There are several moments near the end of his career where Rollin made movies that tried to unite his past works and say something about getting close to the curtain. This is one more and yes, as lovers of his films seem to always say, this may not be the best one to start with. But do start. Get obsessed.

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