Review: The Rape of the Vampire
Blu-ray & 4K UHD Blu-ray: The Rape of the Vampire (1968)
Jean Rollin’s debut is actually 2 short films put together to make up the running time to create a theatrical release, with both immediately establishing a precedent for his future work, with an obsession on eroticism and vampires.
The first part of the film focuses on four strange women living in a decrepit château who all believe that they are vampires and are visited by a psychoanalyst who attempts to rid them of their apparent delusion…or is it a delusion?
Faced with a dilemma of how to bridge the ending of part one into the beginning of part 2 (how do you bring people back from the dead?), Rollin crafted a tale about the Queen of the Vampires who presides over a diabolical clinic, unaware that the head doctor is plotting against her…all the above of course laced with lashings of nudity.
Looking more like a student film than anything else, this low budget erotic horror tale is admittedly a bit of a chore to get through, with part 2 definitely being more of a drain on the senses than the first 30 minutes.
One for Rollin completists that is made all the more tempting by having a new 4K restoration and loaded with special features.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
- New 4K restoration from the original negative by Powerhouse Films
- Original French mono soundtrack
- Audio commentary with writer-director Jean Rollin (2007)
- Audio commentary with film expert and author Tim Lucas (2023)
- Jean Rollin Introduces ‘The Rape of the Vampire’ (1998): filmed appraisal
- Jean Rollin on ‘The Rape of the Vampire’(2007): the director in conversation with festival programmer and journalist Joshua T Gravel at the Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal
- Fragments of Pavement Under Sand(2023): updated documentary on the making of The Rape of the Vampire, directed by Rollin’s personal assistant, Daniel Gouyette, and including interviews with key collaborators Jean-Denis Bonan, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Jean-Loup Philippe
- New interview with Jean-Denis Bonan, editor of The Rape of the Vampire and assistant director on The Far Countries(2023)
- Newly edited archival interview with actor Jacqueline Sieger (2023)
- Newly edited archival interview with actor Alain Yves Beaujour (2023)
- Newly edited archival interview with actor Jean-Loup Philippe (2023)
- Newly edited archival interview with composer François Tusques (2023)
- Critical appreciation by author and film historian Virginie Sélavy (2023)
- Alternative scene
- Super 8 version: cut-down home cinema presentation
- New 4K restoration of The Far Countries(Les Pays loins, 1965): Rollin’s second fictional short film tells of a couple lost in a maze of streets who can’t remember how they got there
- The Far Countries audio commentary with Rollin (2007)
- L’Itinéraire Souvenir (2018): artistic reconstruction of Rollin’s lost work from 1962 by filmmakers Victor Poucalow and Raja Tawil
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image galleries: promotional and publicity material, and behind the scenes
- New and improved English translation subtitles
- Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Beatrice Loayza, archival writing by Jean Rollin on the making of the film, an archival interview with the director by Peter Blumenstock, Jean Rollin’s recollections of shooting The Far Countries, and full film credits
- Limited edition of 10,000 numbered units (6,000 4K UHDs and 4,000 Blu-rays) for the UK and US
Released 28th August.
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.