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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 11/18/99

The Living Dead Girl
1982 (1998) - Redemption (Image Entertainment)

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

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Living Dead Girl Film Ratings: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B+/B

Specs and Features

91 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), single-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging, theatrical trailer (in French with no subs), photo gallery, film-themed menu screens, scene access (17 chapters), languages: French/English (DD mono), subtitles: English

If you're like me, the first thing that pops in your head when you hear the title of this film, is that rockin' song by Rob Zombie. I personally can't shake it out of my head now, and writing about the film only makes it worse. Oh, well. The Living Dead Girl is weird little flick, man. I actually never saw it before I picked up the Image DVD, and it was a true pleasure.

The Living Dead Girl is about a woman named Catherine, who's been dead for 2 years. Now how she could be in a coffin underneath a French mansion for two years, and come out looking like Françoise Blanchard, could only be answered by director Jean Rollin (although I don't disagree with his choice of making her hot instead of zombiefied). Catherine was brought to life, after an Earth tremor sent a drum of toxic waste crashing and spilling on the ground. As it happens, two bumbling vandals were down in her crypt, robbing her and her mother's graves when all this goes down. When she comes to life, she takes some wickedly long and sharp fingernails, and rips out eyes and throats left and right. Not a pretty sight (although the cut in the trailer, showing the guy getting his eyes poked out, was longer and gorier than the shot in the film. What's with that Redemption?) After Catherine's rebirth, she finds that new life hurts without the warm flow of blood, and she needs to drink it pretty often. That's where a gaggle of people, who seemingly have no reason to be constantly walking into this lonely old mansion in the hills of France, come into play. But first, she sends out a call to her former best friend Helen (Marina Pierro). Helen heads to the homestead, and immediately starts to help Catherine lure tasty young things in for her to feed on. Whether Catherine is a vampire, a zombie or a lesbian is never really shown or discussed. But it doesn't really need to be. The film is unintentionally funny, pretty graphically gruesome, and looks pretty damn good on DVD.

Image Entertainment's new crop of Redemption titles look really great. I've looked at the four that came out in the past few months, but this is the first one that really knocked me out enough to write up a review for. Sure, there are some source print problems -- it wouldn't be a European film without them. But for the most part, the colors are crisp, the blacks are clean, and the sound (even if it's mono) is dense and hard working. Extras include the trailer (which is a bit more gruesome, and worth checking out), a photo gallery, and subtitles that can be turned on or off. There's also some nice liner notes on the box, that will help shed a little light on the film. Something unmentioned here (but worth noting), is that this is one of the only films that Rollin actually rehearsed the actors for. He was known for a lot of experimental filmmaking techniques, but most of it resulted in stiff acting (largely by friends, newcomers or porn starlets). This one is actually well-acted and fun to watch. If you have the stomach for it, The Living Dead Girl is worthy of taking home. I would just advise keeping her away from Mom. Oh... and put some mittens on her hands. Those nails look nasty.

Todd Doogan
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