Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Vampire Week Day 2: Requiem Pour Un Vampire (Requiem For A Vampire)

Out of all the films I'm looking at for Vampire Week this is by far the biggest departure, directed by French filmmaker Jean Rollin and the fourth vampire film from him. It is a serial experience as the film relies very little on dialogue, in fact for the first half of the film barely a word is spoken instead using visuals and music to tell the story.

We begin with two girls (Mireille Dargent and Marie-Pierre Castel) dressed as clowns and their male driver in a high speed chase around the french country side as the women take shots at their perusers. It's safe to say my curiosity was intrigued immediately. Their driver is shot but the girls manage to pull into a side street and escape their perusers, their driver dies from his wound and they burn his body in the car and continue on foot.

Avoiding most people they pass the girls eventually come to an abandoned house, then enter and emerge a couple minutes latter changed out of their clown costumes, having presumably hidden a change of cloths in there earlier. They also take a motorbike that was hidden nearby, riding until it runs out of petrol where they once again continue of foot walking through the french countryside until they encounter a flock of vampire bats. The bats lead them to a castle, finding a comfy bed inside the women strip and clime in (apparently never questioning that all the torches in the castle are already lit but I'm sure we can let that slide), they start to make love when noises suddenly distract them, dressing again they explore the castle more and find a chapel full of skeletons dressed up in robes and a woman with fangs playing the organ.

Attempting to flee the girls are perused by her and another female vampire as well as their male slaves, eventually been cornered in a graveyard they meet the leader of the vampires, and this is where the girls must decide weather to accept and become vampires themselves or try and escape this fate.

I don't want to give much more away but the latter half of the film contains some great moments including the films infamous whipping scene.  It's interesting to see how each girl deals with the situation, one with acceptance and the other with rejection and how it puts a strain on their friendship and love for one another.  But for me a real high light is the vampire leader who at first seems like your usual menacing vampire but as he speaks with one of the girls we have a different picture painted, he is the last of his kind having lived countless years. His desire to turn others into vampires has nothing to do with mechanical plans but instead he is lonely, knowing he only has a few years left to live he wishes not to spend them alone and is desperately trying to create other vampires so he wont be. Though it seems futile as the women he has already turned are only part transforming and he is growing more aware that they will never complete the transformation.

The film drips with atmosphere, simple scenes of the girls walking through the forrest are never boring, the music and visuals keep you invested as you are drawn into this tale.

Granted my version is the cut UK DVD, though I have seen the cut scenes online and other than seeing the film in full the story isn't affected by them at all, mostly just been longer scenes or nudity or violence. Though I would prefer to watch the film and most film's uncut, in this cast I feel that I lost little from the overall experience.

Not for everyone, but if you are in the mood for something very different I recommend you give it a go, the film is a grand departure from the usual English language affair and is truly a grand experience for horror and foreign film fans like myself.

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