Welcome to the return of a segment where we allow Liam Corchoran and Gianni Fiorenza, the so-called heroes of my vampire series, The Family, to regale us with their unnecessary opinions on various and sundry vampire films. Got a rec for the boys? Hit em up!
Tonight is Jean Rollin’s 1979 surreality, Fascination. Oh dear…
Director: Jean Rollin
Stars: Franca Maï, Brigitte Lahaie, Jean-Marie Lemaire
G: Jean Rollin–there’s a name I haven’t heard in decades.
L: Do all of his movies begin with ladies hanging out in a meat locker drinking cow blood?
G: Of course not. But something very like, anyhow.
L: That’s pretty much how I knew this movie was going to be a weird experience.
G: And it delivered on that, at least.
L: So we have this dude, who is an absolute tool. I mean he’s a thief, which is fine, but also a tool, which is not. And for some inexplicable reason, women keep throwing themselves at him.
G: Well, he’s not terrible-looking naked.
L: I guess, but that red-and-black striped jacket… even I know that’s shit.
G: I had one very like it in the seventies.
L: The seventies were a time of special madness for you weren’t they?
G: It wasn’t just me, darling, I assure you.
L: So basically these two girls are alone in this giant chateau. Having sex occasionally. Even though they kiss like they have no idea how to kiss.
G: It was a movie-kiss.
L: Right. And then, ugly thief-dude decides to hide in the chateau. So they… fuck around with him–and one of them fucks him–to keep him there until night for mysterious reasons. But the other one somehow falls in love with him. For even more mysterious reasons because what the actual fuck?
G: That would seem to be the whole of the plot. It really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for the entire hour and a half.
L: Except to Naked Town. Because the blonde apparently has to screw like everyone in the house. Her friend, the ugly dude, the bandit dude.
G: And there isn’t really a trace of vampires.
L: But there are a lot of boobs.
G: And a little bit of man ass.
L: And then we have what I assume is the iconic scene. Where, after fucking a dude to death in the stables, blondie throws a cloak over her birthday suit then picks up a sickle and runs around killing people.
G: Who have necessarily melodramatic death scenes.
L: While the viewer still has no idea what the fuck is going on, but hey, at least it’s kinda bad-ass.
G: That’s one word for it.
G: I like the overall concept of the film, though–at least once we discover what it is in the last twenty minutes or so. All of these oxblood drinking, now blood-obsessed ladies finally show up at dark to have their ‘reunion’, waiting to see death and wearing veils… and this hapless idiot thief gets taken.
L: It’d be easier to appreciate if it wasn’t so annoying. Like, the audacity of this guy. He’s hanging out with seven freaky women who keep telling him death is coming and he’s just like whatever “you’re too bossy for my taste” and acts like he can screw with them.
G: He thinks women harmless. They are exploiting that idiocy. Though there’s no real vampire, in the way we think of it, it’s quintessential vampire practice.
L: No, it’s way worse than that. This movie is basically saying women who are dangerous are evil. They’re all, like, lusting after this tool. I feel stupider for every minute this movie goes on.
G: You know, while I do think it’s trying to be arty, I think you’re reading too far into it. It’s really just meant to be an entertaining film about sex and death.
L: (makes a face)
G: (rolls his eyes)
L: There are some major WTF moments right before the end but… I gotta admit, it had a better ending than I was expecting. For a second I thought it was gonna be ‘bad girl leaves her bad girl friends for douchebag boy and is suddenly saved’.
G: Agreed. I almost don’t regret this hour and a half.
L: Almost. Except. Not.
G: So if you’re looking for arty softcore with a lot of blood and deathfucking–
L: And French!
G: –this is the movie for you. And if you’re not, well, there’s no accounting for taste.