Lips of Blood
Lips of Blood
This erotic vampire film features a young man on a strange quest after recognizing a castle on a poster. He seems to remember the castle from his childhood and eventually finds it with the aid of a strange woman dressed in white. It turns out that his family has been keeping the secret of vampirism from him.
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A Woman he couldn't forget, a love that can't be denied!
Lips of Blood (1975) (Lèvres de sang)- Jean Rollin directed this slower story a man seeking to reconnect to his childhood and the vampire he is destined to be reunited to. Frédéric (Jean-Loup Philippe) is haunted by the images of some ruins he visited as a child and starts a journey to find them. Someone is trying to prevent this from happening, who could it be? His over protective Mother (Nathalie Perrey) advice is to forget the past but Frédéric can't do that. His dreaming leads him to a tomb where he releases a group of scantily clad female vampires who seem to aid him and terrorized him in his quest. When he finally finds the vampire from the past, Jennifer (Annie Belle); his mother comes to him and says that she has been protecting him from the Vamps and he must help her put an end to them. She and her friends had long ago trapped the vampires and now wish to burn them. He is assigned to get Jennifer's head for this purpose. He does not bring the real head and instead frees the beautiful Jennifer to be her lover. She turns him and they sail away in a coffin. (not kidding here) The movie making is standard for the time period with heavy music and blue and red lighting for effect. There are no special effects besides the lovely bodies of the beautiful vamps. The nudity is more casual than pornographic. Subtitled pay attention or you will miss the reveals. Very straight forward compared to some of Rollin's more abstract work. Rating (6.5)
Maybe Rollin's best film
There's no question that Jean Rollin films are something of an acquired taste. His style is certainly off-putting to many. Even from someone who is fond of most of his output, I can easily understand why someone would not like Rollin's movies at all. Lips of Blood is another textbook example of the man's work with all the usual eccentric and idiosyncratic details you could reasonably expect. Its story involving female vampires is typical of the sort of thing he is most well known for. Except I have to say that I think that this film may very well be the most complete expression that Rollin ever made. I get the feeling that this movie is possibly the closest of all his pictures to the original idea he envisioned.
Quite unusually much of the action takes place in the middle of the city. But as is typical for Rollin, this also incorporates scenes in a Gothic cemetery as well as the expected crumbling castle and beach sequence. However, the night time city scenes are very probably the best parts of the entire movie. They include some strange and surreal locations such as the aquarium, the night fountains and the late night cinema (showing Le Frissons des Vampires no less). The extended scene where our hero navigates all these locations is some of the most fully-realized and effective stuff Rollin ever filmed. He photographs and lights things very well too and Lips of Blood doesn't betray its ultra low-budget origins as much as most of his other films.
The storyline, however, is as basic as usual. The characterizations are as paper-thin as always. But these considerations are just not what you would watch his films for, and if these things do bother you then his films are most probably not for you. But if you appreciate more dream-like fare or melancholic horror films, then this could well be worth your time. Lips of Blood is arguably Rollin's best film, it's certainly one of his most well made. Recommended to those who like Euro horror from the more surreal end of the spectrum.
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The Dream Life of Vampires
The films of Jean Rollin will be an enigma to many who have not experiencing his work, yet for those who allow themselves to be taken elsewhere by his cinema it can prove a highly rewarding experience. The viewer is often taken to places that invoke bewilderment, unease, and sexual desire. By no means Rollin's best film, Levres De Sang (aka. Lips of Blood) is a beautifully lyrical, slow burner that has the uncanny ability to take the viewer into an ethereal, dream like world, where the erotic and the neurotic are intertwined.
The story of a photographer, upon seeing a poster, is reminded of his childhood where a mysterious female vampire. However, this being Rollin, do not expect a traditional vampire movie (although his vampire films are arguably the most faithful to the Gothic aura and mythology of the vampire). Mostly dialogue free, with the acting catatonic, this only adds a surreal edge to the proceedings. And no vampire films have a greater sense of eroticism; it is easily to succumb to female vampires whenever they are on screen.
For the uninitiated, approach with caution. But this is a fine example of the originality and unique approach which is to be found in 1970s European sex and horror cinema.
Of which, Jean Rollin was undoubtedly the master.