Blu-ray:
3 Stars out of 5
Sale Price 48.63
List Price 56.92
Buy Now
3rd Party 48.62
In Stock.
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Movie Release Year: 1968
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Cinema of Jean Rollin: The Vampire Collection

Review Date February 28th, 2014 by
Overview -

Kino Lorber and Redemption are proud to announce the release of a new Blu-ray and DVD box set showcasing the vampire films of French horror filmmaker Jean Rollin. This four-disc collection includes The Nude Vampire, The Shiver of the Vampires, The Rape of the Vampire, and Requiem for a Vampire, all restored and remastered in HD from the original 35mm elements. Previously released by Redemption as individual discs, this collection gathers Rollin's four vampire films in one box - a collection of films that are ripe for re-discovery by fans of horror and cult/genre cinema.

OVERALL
Leave A Comment
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: Four-Disc Box Set
    4 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
    Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:357
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.66:1
    English Descriptive Audio: French LPCM 2.0 Mono
    English LPCM 2.0 Mono
    Subtitles/Captions: English
    Special Features: Introductions
    Featurettes
    Interviews
    Trailers
    Booklet
    Movie Studio: Redemption
    Release Date: February 11th, 2014

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

3.5 Stars out of 5

The Nude Vampire

'The Nude Vampire' is Jean Rollin's follow-up to 'The Rape of the Vampire,' the French filmmaker's feature-length debut featuring a fanciful, romanticized story about vampires. Of course, 'Nude' isn't a sequel to 'Rape,' but many of the same themes touched upon in his first movie are further explored in this film. And thanks to a slightly bigger budget, Rollin is able to immerse his unusual and idealized motifs about the undead with a visually interesting stage production and the sumptuously fascinating photography of Jean-Jacques Renon, marking their first collaboration together. The script by Rollin and Serge Moati, on the other hand, comes with a languid mystery about a nameless young woman and a bizarre suicide cult that worships her.

What makes the story rather listless and slow — which could possibly be intentional — is the mystery about the woman (Caroline Cartier), her origins and the amount of secrecy surrounding her. The cult's leader, Georges Radamante (Maurice Lemaître), is a man of prestige, wealth and power who claims to have discovered her and keeps her captive in hopes of learning more of her immortality, which supposedly requires human blood. That's where the creepy ritualistic sect comes in; a small group of people voluntarily shoot themselves in order to feed to the woman. Georges' son, Pierre (Olivier Rollin), stumbles upon his father's clandestine practices more or less by accident, and with the help of a friend (Pascal Fardoulis), he feels compelled to rescue the woman.

The word vampire is loosely thrown around as a philistine explanation for the woman's condition, which includes an aversion to sunlight and rapid healing along with a thirst for human blood and her immortality. By film's end, we learn the truth about her and the large number of people mounting a rescue mission, which does manage to surprise on some small level. Ultimately, what makes the film somewhat admirable and worth watching at least once is Rollin's creative camerawork. Often visually arresting, several sequences are an intriguing blend of noir-like shadows and gothic atmosphere of the Hammer Films variety against a backdrop of baroque architecture and design. The story could be stronger, but Rollin's second feature-film is nevertheless a titillating, unconventional piece on vampire lore that essentially romanticizes the mythology. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)

The Shiver of the Vampire

Like many of Jean Rollin's other movies, 'Shiver of the Vampire' comes with a rather mundane and ultimately unexciting story, and once again, it is co-written by Rollin. However, the plots are not always of the most interest in a Rollin production, as they usually take a backseat to the visuals and production design. A newlywed couple (Sandra Julien and Jean-Marie Durand) spends their honeymoon in an eerie castle supposedly visiting family, but they soon discover a darker, more sinister secret about the place. The story is pretty generic, only there to serve Rollin's gothic eccentricities and empyreal vision of vampire mythology.

Watching these movies is essentially about admiring the director's creativity and how ahead of his time he truly was. As if inspired by the sexual undertones radiating in the Hammer Films, Rollin brings those connotations of eroticism to the forefront, unabashed of directly stating the sensual attraction to the vampire, not only their power of immortality but the idea of staying young and beautiful forever without any social restraint. His characters are romanticized, intelligent creatures that party through the night and enjoy garrulous pseudo-philosophical conversations. His female vampires (Dominique) are masculine, domineering leaders while the men (Michel Delahaye and Jacques Robiolles) are effeminized followers dressed in 18th Century attire.

Working with cinematographer Jean-Jacques Renon, Rollin saturates the plot with a macabre, ethereal atmosphere that not only idealizes the characters but also makes them abnormal and uncanny. Five years before Anne Rice introduced the world to a different type of bloodsucker, Rollin was already exploring themes of the brooding, reflective vampire that was just as horrifying and intimidating as it was seductive and enticing. At the same time, the French filmmaker openly displays his love and appreciation of the classic undead figure when the castle's caretakers and loyal servants are both named the Reinfelds (Marie-Pierre Castel and Kuelan Herce). 'Shiver of the Vampire' is Rollin's third vampire feature and while not quite as good as the others in the set, it still manages to entertain with a mix of intriguing ideas the push the myth forward. (Movie Rating: 3/5)

For detailed reviews of the other two movies in the box set, please click on the following links:

The Rape of the Vampire (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)

Requiem for a Vampire (Movie Rating: 4/5)

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Kino Lorber, under the distributor's "Redemption" label, brings the first four of Jean Rollin's early movies in one Blu-ray box set, dubbed "The Cinema of Jean Rollin: The Vampire Collection." Each of the Region Free, BD50 discs arrive in individual blue cases inside a glossy, cardboard slipcover, and they are, in fact, reissues of the same releases from 2012. The only difference is the main menu on each disc is now an animated screen with a smaller window showing full-motion clips and music playing in the background. 'Requiem' and 'Rape' come with a glossy 16-page booklet while 'Shiver' and 'Nude' have a 20-page booklet. All four feature a lengthy essay on the films of Jean Rollin by Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog with a variety of photos.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Four-Disc Box Set
    4 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
    Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:357
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.66:1
    Audio Formats:
    French LPCM 2.0 Mono
    English LPCM 2.0 Mono
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English
    Special Features:
    Introductions
    Featurettes
    Interviews
    Trailers
    Booklet
    Movie Studio: Redemption
    Release Date: February 11th, 2014

Video Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

The Rape of the Vampire

Jean Rollin's directorial debut makes its way to Blu-ray with a great-looking 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, mastered from the original 35mm negative. Considering its micro-budget origins and age, the film appears to be in excellent shape and condition, displaying a picture that's consistent and stable throughout with a thin layer of grain. Admittedly, definition and resolution can waver somewhat, but it's nothing too distract and originating from the source. The 1.66:1 image shows excellent fine object details and textures in clothing, hair and the surrounding architecture. Contrast and brightness is very well-balanced with lots inky rich blacks in the background and strong visibility of background information within the shadows. On the negative side, dirt and white specks are ever present while banding in certain scenes tends to distract. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)

The Nude Vampire

Struck from a 35mm negative, according to information on the back of the box, this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode offers tons of sharp details and better than initialed expected definition. Fine lines and objects are surprisingly distinct and resolute throughout with very few soft or poorly resolved sequences. Contrast and brightness are well-balanced and stable, as several scenes look appealingly bright with excellent blacks and strong shadow delineation. Colors benefit the most, as they are generally bold and cleanly rendered throughout. Only drawback is the fact that the source used didn't receive any extensive restoration, so the 1.66:1 image is often littered with white specks, flakes of dirt and the occasional vertical scratch. But other than that, the high-def transfer is in great shape. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)

The Shiver of the Vampire

Also remastered from a 35mm negative, this AVC-encoded transfer is unfortunately not quite as impressive as the other three. The picture has that yellowish, lightly discolored look that only comes from age, so a good deal of the presentation displays weak contrast levels with several moments of poor resolution and ugly, unappealing whites. Blacks are bit more attractive and often true, but they also tend to come off much too strong. Clarity and delineation within the shadows range from average to being completely engulfed. A majority of the presentation is soft and blurry although there are few good detailed moments. Colors are the best aspect, but the overall palette is largely ruined by the source's yellow tone. (Video Rating: 2.5/5)

Requiem for a Vampire

Despite being remastered from the original 35mm negative (as promoted on the back of the packaging), you can immediately tell that the film would greatly benefit from a proper restoration. But as it stands, this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode reveals that the elements are actually in great shape, minus the occasional bits of dirt and white specks spread throughout. Presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, fine object and textural details are sharply rendered with distinct clarity in the stone walls of the castle and first-rate shadow delineation during the many poorly-lit sequences. Colors are bold and often striking without feeling artificial or exaggerated. Contrast is accurate and well-balanced while blacks provide an impressive richness with excellent dynamic range. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)

Audio Review

3 Stars out of 5

The Rape of the Vampire

Kino Lorber releases this bizarre vampire tale with an uncompressed PCM stereo soundtrack that generally satisfies but is mostly riddled with a variety of issues. As is the usual case, the biggest issue is with the constant hissing in the background, which becomes a predominately nagging presence during the windy beach scenes. Although vocals are clear and audible at all times, the voices of actors have a distracting raspy quality, and the ADR work seems to create lip-sync issues. This problem extends to the experimental jazz music of Yvon Garault, exposing a great deal of crackling and clipping in the upper frequencies. Despite exhibiting a decently detailed clarity in the instrumentation, the mid-range is noticeably flat and severely strained. The lossless mix has some mild bass to it, but it's mostly anemic as well. (Audio Rating: 2/5)

The Nude Vampire

As for the audio, the film arrives with a strong but not quite as impressive French uncompressed PCM mono soundtrack. For the most part, dialogue is well-prioritized with excellent clarity, and imaging is decently broad with appreciable acoustical presence. In fact, there is a good deal to enjoy from the overall presentation, as even a few off-screen effects can be plainly heard in the background and are somewhat convincing. However, the mid-range generally feels flat and hollow, though much of that could probably be attributed to limitations in the source or the original sound design. A nice surprise is the low bass, which is clean and can be quite hearty at times, but of course, it's nothing to rave about. (Audio Rating: 3/5)

The Shiver of the Vampire

The French uncompressed PCM mono soundtrack is on par with the others in the package, which for the most part is a good thing. Although contained in the center, imaging is decently wide with appreciable presence and clean fidelity. There's not much going on in the mid-range, yet dynamics and acoustics are passable with good, crisp details. A few discrete effects in the background and the funky 70s music benefit the most from the available frequencies in the design. Vocals are plain and precise. Sadly, the low end is noticeably lacking, which makes much of the lossless mix feel somewhat flat. (Audio Rating: 3/5)

Requiem for a Vampire

Although the audio on this Blu-ray isn't as notable as the video, the uncompressed PCM stereo soundtrack is still a step up from its standard-def counterpart. The design doesn't offer much in terms of background activity, but the little we do hear comes through with great clarity. Some noise and hissing still permeates much of the lossless mix, but never really detracts from or overwhelms the rest of track. Dynamics are fairly clean and sharp, except in the upper ranges where we hear a noticeable crackling effect. Low bass is healthy and adequate, though only appreciable during scenes with music. Speaking of which, the original score of Pierre Raph and the piano melodies of Louise Dhour benefit the most from wide and decently warm imaging. Dialogue reproduction is also well-prioritized and intelligible from beginning to end, apart from the apparent hissing during a few of the higher-pitched moments. (Audio Rating: 3/5)

Special Features

1.5 Stars out of 5

The Rape of the Vampire

    • Fragments Of Pavement Under The Sand (HD, 24 min) — Made entirely of interviews and movie clips, the short doc is a mix of retrospect and discussion of the film's history. Directed by Daniel Gouyette, the piece features several good comments about the production, artistic intentions and the film's premiere from Jean Rollin, Jean-Denis Bonan, and Jean-Pierre Bouyxou.

    • Short Films (HD) — Definitely the highlight of the package is two short films made by Rollin early in his career, before 'Rape of the Vampire.' The first is also the director's first feature called Les Amours jaunes ("The Yellow Loves," 11 min) showing his expressively lyrical approach to filmmaking. The second entitled Les Pays loin ("The Far Country," 16 min.) continues that same avant-garde style with an intriguing sci-fi tone and plot that follows a couple through a strange alternate reality.

    • Introduction (HD, 3 min) — The video is a brief interview with the director providing some background context while some dude with a white, expressionless mask and dressed in black tights sits at his side.

    • Interviews (HD) — Two separate conversations worth watching. The first is with Jean Rollin (4 min) talking about his career, influences and his attraction to the genre while the second has Jean-Loup Philippe (9 min) sharing memories of the production and working with the director.

    • Alternate Scene (HD, 2 min) — An alternate censored take of the operating room scene, shot by Rollin in case he was met with any problems.

    • Trailers (HD) — A collection of theatrical previews for other films in the Jean Rollin canon along with one for this film.

The Nude Vampire

    • Introduction (HD, 2 min) — Brief interview with the filmmaker providing some context and expressing aspirations.

    • Interviews (HD) — Two interviews, starting with a collection of conversations between Rollin and Daniel Gouyette that covers the director's career and various interests (19 min). The second is with Natalie Perrey talking fondly about Rollin and her collaborations with him (4 min).

    • Trailers (HD)

The Shiver of the Vampire

    • Introduction (HD, 3 min) — Rollin quickly notes what makes this film different from the rest in his canon.

    • Interview (SD, 41 min) — Professor of Philosophy and Feminist Film Theory Patricia MacCormack chats extensively with the French filmmaker on various topics surrounding his career and films.

    • Trailers (HD)

Requiem for a Vampire

    • Introduction (HD, 2 min) — The upscaled video shows the director providing some background context to the film while a weird dude with a white, expressionless mask and dressed in black tights sits next to him and stares at the camera while holding a skull.

    • The Shiver of a Requiem (HD, 18 min) — A more recent piece directed by Daniel Gouyette, who chats with Natalie Perrey and Jean-Noel Delamarre, collaborators on a few of Rollin's films. With clips of the movie interspersed throughout, the two talk extensively of the shoot, cast and of Rollin, both the man and the director.

    • Interview (1080i/60, 10 min) — Actress and musician Louise Dhour shares fond memories of the director, her chance meeting and her contributions to 'Requiem.'

    • Trailers (HD, SD) — A collection of theatrical previews for other films in the Jean Rollin canon along with three specifically for 'Requiem.'

Final Thoughts

Jean Rollin made his directorial debut with 'The Rape of the Vampire,' an oddly structured film about a secret society of vampires, but it can be appreciated as the early form towards his signature style of lyrical gothic imagery mixed with avant-garde pop-art and classic American serials. The French filmmaker quickly followed it with three more films that further explored these themes with a gothic, surreal visual design that's often mesmerizing and haunting. Kino Lorber brings all four movies in a repackaged box set that features the same strong picture, passable audio presentation and assortment of supplements. For Rollin fans that didn't purchase the movies individually, the package is a worthwhile purchase.

Sale Price 48.63
List Price 56.92
Buy Now
3rd Party 48.62
In Stock.
See what people are saying about this story or others
See Comments in Forum
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Four-Disc Box Set
    4 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
    Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:357
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.66:1
    Audio Formats:
    French LPCM 2.0 Mono
    English LPCM 2.0 Mono
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English
    Special Features:
    Introductions
    Featurettes
    Interviews
    Trailers
    Booklet
    Movie Studio: Redemption
    Release Date: February 11th, 2014