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1969 (2007) - Mondo Macabro
The sex/horror subgenre is a peculiar one that I've never quite
understood. Don't get me wrong. I'm more than happy to watch a
good sex flick just as much as I appreciate a scary one. But too
often, the two themes are at odds with each other. Am I supposed
to be turned on or scared? In rare instances it works. Harry Kümel's
bizarre, dreamlike Daughters of
Darkness manages to be both erotic and disturbing.
But more often than not, the sex/horror movie is just kind of
Claude Mulot's The Blood Rose
was touted as the first sex/horror movie, a claim that seems
somewhat dubious to me but whatever. I'll play along.
Lemaire stars as Frederic Lansac, a famous artist who falls madly in
love with Anne (Anny Duperey). Shortly after their wedding, Anne is
horribly burned in a fight with one of Lansac's jilted former
lovers. With his wife disfigured and unable to walk, Lansac tells
the world she's dead and retreats with her to his estate. Anne's
descent into madness is quickened when Lansac encounters a disgraced
surgeon who performs illegal plastic surgeries. With the hope of
restoring Anne's beauty, Lansac begins to kidnap young girls with
the intent of finding one whose face can be transplanted.
The Blood Rose "borrows"
heavily from Georges Franju's classic Eyes
Without a Face and certainly can't compete with that
film. But the movie makes up for it with copious amounts of nudity,
Howard Vernon as the back-alley plastic surgeon and odd touches like
a couple of mute, fur-clad dwarfs who carry out Lansac's dirty work.
None of it is particularly scary, although there are some
effectively bizarre moments. Unfortunately, it's all a bit more
restrained than you might expect, never bursting out into full-on
gonzo weirdness and dragging more than a little, especially toward
the first half. It's not bad and kind of fun if you have a taste for
this sort of thing but there's certainly nothing here that makes
this a must-see.
Mondo Macabro's DVD presents the film in a stunning anamorphic
transfer with options to listen to the goofy dialogue in either
English or French. Extras include a video interview with Didier
Philippe-Gérard, the late Mulot's brother-in-law and frequent
collaborator, reminiscing about the director's life and career. You
also get extensive essays about the film, cast and crew, a still
gallery, and the best coming attraction reel on earth, the endlessly
awesome More from Mondo Macabro
I'll have more from Mondo Macabro myself tomorrow. Y'all come back
Film Rating: C+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B-/B+
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