Either 88 or 76 minutes
70s lesbian vampire flick
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Requiem for a Vampire (1973)
10th May 11
Two girls on the run end up in the grip of a bunch of vampires looking to use them to continue their kind.
Arty, surreal and fairytale-like Requiem for a Vampire is very much an acquired taste. For the first part of the film there is practically no dialogue. We follow two young women dressed as
clowns on the run from a robbery with a male driver – one of many men that all look the same in the film - non-descript with big hair – who is soon shot and dies.
The two girls then wander around still adorned in their colourful clown attire which leaves one wondering just how no one at all seems to notice them. One face wash and clothes change later and the girls are snuggling up together in a graveyard where the dark haired girl Michelle (Mireille Dargent) soon falls and ends up in an open grave. As her fairer haired friend (Marie-Pierre Castel) watches on aghast two non-descript men with big hair return to fill the open grave burying Michelle alive.
During this time the grave filler completely fails to notice that there is a girl below having dirt lobbed upon her courtesy of him. Fear not though as Michelle is removed from said dirt with nary a filthy soiled mark upon her attire. Soon after they are enticed to a nearby castle that no one else seems to know is there as if in a trance both with two barely noticeable bite marks upon their soft young necks.
At the castle they are soon attacked by the male vampires all with the most naff false teeth whilst two female vampires strut around like bad pantomime dames for the head vampire comes across as a lanky, harmless fella will talcum powder on his face and two toothpicks jutting from the side of his mouth.
There follows some very soft lesbian action, a nude whipping scene and very little else to be honest. If it wasn’t all so garish in its costuming and colourful camerawork this short flick would be a very hard slog. The running time stated on the packaging states eighty-eight minutes whereas the copy of the movie reviewed lasted just seventy-six minutes.
There’s little in the way of real horror to be had and everything seems a little quaint and tame by today’s harder hitting standards. nintentional laughs come courtesy of seeing two frankly dire fake bats hanging from under the head vamp’s throat that then take residence upon our young lead’s necks and remain there like little bow-ties.
For a film about vampires there seems to be very little vampire business afoot although there are longer prints of the movie in existence – one running at ninety-five minutes - that possibly has
more fanged action however on the evidence of this cut though one would have to guess not.
The print has a continual hiss on the soundtrack but the colours are rich and vibrant which is just as well as the film’s strong point is it’s visual rather than what spouts from the characters’ mouths.
Requiem for a Vampire plays better when no one says anything leading some to consider the movie ‘surreal’ and it’s fair to say that it does invoke that quality it’s just a shame that the late writer/director Jean Rollin decided to let his characters talk. The moment anyone starts talking things slow up and become far less interesting.
Redemption is to be commended in their packaging of Rollin’s vampire lesbian flick. For starters the cover image is not even from the film nor is the DVD Title Menu screen which has a vamp that’s more Grace Jones than the big-haired monstrosities on parade in Requiem.
The quotes on the cover too beggars belief but it shows just how a bit of shrewd marketing and packaging can shift a product beyond its limited cult audience. By having a random quote from just about anyone on imdb.com is a nice touch but naughty too. Some anonymous quote from the website states that this is ‘definitely not Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’ – well what exactly is that telling anyone. It’s not saying it’s great it is but hats off to the Redemption team for pulling off such tricks in their packaging.
The following are extras to the UK Redemption release.
Theatrical Trailer “Two Young Virgins in the Clutches of Monsters”... a noisy trailer dialogue free that packs in gun shots, screams and nudity with a closing image of a hand grasping out from a freshly filled grave that completely misleads in terms of what that image is about. Notice how the actor playing the ill-fated driver at the start of the film twitches as gasoline is poured over him...he’s meant to be very dead at this point.
Stills Gallery Fairly standard stuff which allows you to navigate through all the stills on offer in their entire glorious colour.
Publicity Worth a look for some quite wonderful poster art with the some navigation system as before.
Video Art This time round it’s the various Redemption covers produced over time for this title however there are only three images to flick through here.
Filmography Writer/director Jean Rollin’s career scrolls up the screen in front of you! Discosex from 1977 sounds intriguing!
Elsewhere there’s a plug for Redemption’s Triple Silence – their new music label that specialises in ‘bands and artists that have a dark, sexual, satanic or vampyric appeal’ – if this is for you then there’s a video of one of their signings The Nuns to ogle. There are trailers elsewhere for other Redemption titles Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine and The Shiver of the Vampires.
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