Requiem for a Vampire (1971)

Vierges et Vampires,or Requiem for a Vampire as it’s more commonly known to English speaking audiences, starts with a ‘high’ speed car chase through the French countryside which ends in the death of one guy & two young women dressed as clowns, Marie (Marie-Pierre Castel) & Michelle (Mireille Dargent) escaping on foot. Eventually they end up at a run down Château where they discover a Vampire & his group of followers, Marie & Michelle are initiated into the world of Vampirism as the head Vampire dude plans on turning them into the blood drinking undead…

This French production was produced, written & directed by Jean Rollin & personally I didn’t think too much of it. The script is rather slow going to start with & nothing particularly significant happens for about an hour until things pick up a bit towards the end. The plot is virtually none existent as you would expect from Rollin who could never be accused of wasting good running time on small unnecessary things like a coherent storyline. The dialogue (spoken in French so expect subtitles) is sparse to say the least & the amount of meaningful conversation can be counted on one hand while it seemed to me that a good 40 odd minutes past without anyone saying a single word. The character’s are as one dimensional as could possibly be, it’s dull, boring & doesn’t make a whole load of sense & quite frankly I didn’t get much, if any, enjoyment or entertainment from it.

Director Rollin again puts the visuals way before the story which in my opinion is a bad move all day long. Anyway, I didn’t think that this was his best film visually but the colours, lighting, imagery, locations & cinematography give it a certain style & flair. I must mention the Vampires, they are probably the worst looking Vampires I’ve seen in a film. They’re fangs look so fake it’s untrue, the colour of them, the way they look like plastic, the strange angle they exit the mouth & they just don’t fit properly. That bird with long red hair looked really funny in close-up. There isn’t much gore, just dead rotten corpse although there is some nudity & sex.

Technically Vierges et Vampires is good & it’s well made, no one was ever questioning Rollins ability to make a film just his ability to write a script for one that makes any sort of sense! Since the dialogue is so sparse & it’s in French I couldn’t really tell you how good the acting was although some of the faces these people pull are worth a few laughs on their own.