Friday, 31 May 2013

Review - The Living Dead Girl (1982 - Dir. Jean Rollin)

Jean Rollin films are an acquired taste and this one is no exception. This is supposedly one of his most commercially successful films. This could be down to the above average gore quota for a Rollin film and a smattering of public thatch shots.

Three dubious fellows are dumping some similarly dodgy chemicals in the basement of a castle. While they're there they notice a couple of coffins, so decide to do a bit of grave robbing. I did say they were dubious. Surprise, surprise the chemical spills everywhere when there is a badly-timed earthquake and the titular girl, Catherine (Françoise Blanchard), comes back to life. She uses her exceedingly sharp nails to do a bit of damage to the unlucky chaps and then wanders back into the castle where she used to live.

She eventually meets up with her sister (Marina Pierro) who is quite willing to fetch fresh meat for Catherine. Meat for a zombie that is. Not half a pound of chipolatas. By the end of the film the sister becomes less human than the zombified Catherine. In a similar vein to Return of the Living Dead Part 3, Catherine is quite aware of her situation and wants it to end. She tries to overcome her general zombieness and you'll have to watch it to see whether she succeeds.

As with most Jean Rollin films, it is very slow paced. During gore sequences, Fulci used a slow pace to force you to watch some fairly unpleasant scenes. In this, even though there is some gore, it's not enough to linger over. The slow pace doesn't really do the film any favours, apart from giving it a dreamlike quality. Saying that, Rollin does do a fine line in gorgeous shots of castles but the atmosphere is not up there with Fascination.

One of the standout features of this film are the cries/screams/gurgles of the cast when they are killed. Barbara Simon's death is particularly great. Another audio treat is getting to hear what a French party was like in the eighties. They were pretty wild by the look of this.

All in all, this is a great film for a Friday night when you've just come back from the pub and you don't mind too much if you fall asleep watching it. Is that a recommendation or not?


If you like this you could also try:
Fascination, Requiem For A Vampire, Vampyres, Return of the Living Dead Part 3.

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