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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blu-ray Review: THE LIVING DEAD GIRL (1982)


   
THE LIVING DEAD GIRL
Directed by Jean Rollin
Distributed by Kino Lorber, Inc.

 I am a huge fan of foreign horror, especially the Italian films like those of Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento.  I have recently began really getting into French horror films, especially those of a filmmaker named Jean Rollin.   He has some very good films, full of great scenes that have a very creepy atmosphere to them.  Thanks to the great folks at Kino Lorber, and distributed through their Redemption Films label, we now have access to some of Jean Rollin's greatest films through their "Cinema of Jean Rollin" series.   I recently watched Rollin's THE LIVING DEAD GIRL, and this has been my favorite Rollin film so far.   Here is the basic plot synopsis from the Kino Lorber website:

  THE LIVING DEAD GIRL (La Morte Vivante) is the story of Catherine Valmont (Françoise Blanchard), a wealthy heiress dead before her time, who is accidentally reanimated when some unfortunate movers attempt to store drums of chemical waste in the neglected burial vaults below her uninhabited chateau. Rollin's "living dead girl" does everything that cinematic convention requires - she kills people, drinks human blood, devours human flesh - yet, for all this, we accept her as an innocent. Meanwhile, the effect that her resurrection has upon her childhood friend, Hélène (Marina Pierro), is infinitely more conscious, deliberate, and evil.
  Bloodier and more violent than his own tastes preferred, THE LIVING DEAD GIRL forced Rollin to work against the grain in his own preferred genre - and he transformed himself in the process. In the unsettling, bloody finale, Blanchard's performance was so intense, so extreme in its confused appetite, revulsion, and glee, the take was nearly interrupted out of concern for the actress's mental health. It's one of the most emotionally incendiary finales in horror film history.
 
  The first thing I noticed after starting this film was the beautiful picture quality on the Blu-ray version.   The film is from 1982, but it looks like it was shot today with the crystal clear picture.   The other thing I noticed about this film was the gore.   This film was much bloodier than the previous film's of Rollin's that I have seen.   There were some great gore effects, including a sickening throat chomping scene!    All of Rollin's usual things are here, including some great atmospheric scenery and some beautiful (and yes, a lot of the times topless) women. 
 
  Like a lot of Rollins films, the acting and dialog is a little cheesy at times, but it is not enough to ruin the film for you by any means.    If you are a fan of Rollin's films, you will definitely want to add this one to your collection.  If you are not familiar with Rollin's films, do yourself a favor and check this one out for sure, and check out all the other great Jean Rollin films available now through the Kino Lorber website.
 
  THE LIVING DEAD GIRL is available now on DVD and Blu-ray and contains the following special features:
 
*  Mastered in HD from the 35mm negative
*  French with optional English subtitles
*  Introduction from Jean Rollin
*  Four featurettes by Daniel Gouyette:
  • "Jean-Pierre Bouyxou on La Morte Vivante"
  • "The Living Dead Girl: The American Version"
  • "Music by Philippe D'Aram"
  • "When I Was Seventeen: An Homage to Benoit Lestang
*  Jean Rollin at Fantasia (2007, 36 min.)
*  Excerpt of an interview with Jean Rollin by Joshua T. Gravel
*  12-page booklet with an essay by Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog
*  Original theatrical trailer
*  Original trailers of nine other Rollin films
 

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD or Blu-ray




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