Thursday, 10 May 2012

Lips of Blood

1975, France, Directed by Jean Rollin
Colour, Running Time: 88 minutes
Review Source: Blu-ray, Region A, Kino/Redemption; Video: 1.66:1 1080p 24fps, Audio: LPCM Mono

Obsessed with vague memories of a childhood nocturnal encounter with a strange but alluring woman, Philippe comes across some photographs at a get-together that remind him of the castle where the encounter supposedly took place. After forcing a photographer friend to tell him where the place actually is, he manages to arrange a meeting with the mysterious woman but along the way comes across four female vampires. Philippe is on a strange journey to uncover secrets of his past.
In all honesty the plots of Rollin films are superfluous to the overall product - his films consist of recurring concepts contained within evocative visuals. His choice of location during the 60s through to early 80s was one of his strengths and facilitated the creation of incredible looking movies on miniscule budgets. He tended to utilise vampires, eroticism and gothic imagery to a great extent and with some often beautiful cinematography he was able to create dreamlike experiences for the lucky viewers who connected with the material. Many people who watch his work may find it unprofessional (often due to the limited acting skills on display, alongside non-existent special effects budgets) but I’m one of the fortunate few who can escape into the strange universes of Jean Rollin. Lèvres de Sang (or Lips of Blood in translation) provides that opportunity nicely, although is not quite up there with my favourites (Requiem Pour un Vampire, and Frisson des Vampires for example). If you already like the work of Rollin then you will almost certainly like this; if you’re unfamiliar then this is a good place to start. Prepare yourself to be carried away to a unique world of collision between fairy tale and horror.

Originally released on DVD both in the US and UK by Redemption, this was a nicely presented non-anamorphic 1.66:1 image, the colours being strong for the time with plenty of visual information to treat your eyes to. The French soundtrack was good and subtitles perfectly legible. There were some cursory extras included though the release was later superseded to an extent by the Encore 3 disc edition (available from the continent), which came as an anamorphically enhanced (albeit incorrectly framed at 1.78:1) SE a while ago, this time arriving with a mountain of extras. Redemption have since teamed up with Kino Lorber to put this film out on Blu-ray, and at the very least it reveals how good the previous DVDs actually were! Detail is only marginally improved, however colour and brightness levels are more balanced, plus it is accurately framed. Overall the image on the Blu-ray appears to be the most 'natural'. Language track again is in French (with optional and very clear English subtitles), which is suitably clear and technically uncompressed. Trailers for various Rollin films are present, along with an introduction by the now deceased director, and an interesting interview with Rollin regular, Natalie Perrey, who reveals that the shoot for the film wasn't entirely comfortable. Presented in its definitive edition transfer-wise (although the Encore still tops it in terms of extras), Lips of Blood is an enjoyable, fairly surreal erotic vampire film, something of a Rollin speciality…

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bring forth your thoughts...