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LIPS OF BLOOD (BLU RAY) (1975)
Published by David Carter on 2012/2/6 (316 reads)
Directed by Jean Rollin
Review by David Carter
Released by Redemption Films/ Kino Lorber
Running Time: 87 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English or French/English Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.66:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Intro by Rollin, Interview with Natalie Perrey, 20 page booklet
Trailer Online: No
Short Version: Haunting story of memory, love, and vampirism
Frederic is mingling with the Parisian elite at a cocktail party when a perfume advert catches his eye. The photo of an abandoned castle sparks a memory in him: as a young boy he wandered there while lost one night. A beautiful young girl let him in the castle and stayed with him through the night; a memory that he had been unable to recall since the death of his father. Frederic seeks out the photographer against the advice of his mother and finds that she has been paid not to reveal the location of the photograph. She’s attracted to him, however, and agrees to meet him at midnight and tell him how to find the castle.
On his way to meet the photographer, Frederic sees the girl from his memory. She leads him to a sarcophagus and entreats him to open the coffins inside, freeing four vampire girls in the process. Shocked, he runs back into the night to make his meeting only to find the photographer murdered. Her killer is soon on Frederic’s trail but he escapes with the help of the vampires. More confused than ever he again turns to his mother for help but she is more of a hindrance than before, again pleading with him to give up his search. By chance, he learns the location of the castle and there he finds greater mysteries and secrets than he ever imagined.
LIPS OF BLOOD is another high-quality film from Jean Rollin. Much of what you’d expect from him is here—vampires, sexy women, and beautiful cinematography. LIPS OF BLOOD takes each of these traits steps farther than you’ve seen in his other works, though. Rollin removes all unnecessary elements from the plot; there are no unneeded characters, words, or scenes. All that remains are the most important elements of the story and thus every aspect of the film has a greater weight. Rollin’s attention to detail gives LIPS OF BLOOD a power that some of his other works lack. There is an energy throughout even the most seemingly mundane scenes pushing the film forward and drawing in the viewer.
Memory and dreams are the main focus of LIPS OF BLOOD. Though most of Rollin’s films could be considered ethereal, this film could serve as a definition of the term. After Frederic’s initial flashback the line between dreams and reality for him—and therefore the viewer as well—becomes blurred. He sees the young girl appearing and disappearing, never really sure if she is or is not leading him on the right path. His search itself is dreamlike also. He’s ultimately searching for something lost and unknown, a dream that is most often interpreted to mean that the dreamer feels there is something missing in their life. Frederic believes that it is simply the memory that he is searching for but learns that much more is missing once he finds the truth.
Redemption’s Blu Ray of LIPS OF BLOOD is one of the best discs in the collection in terms of the improvement to the print. Rollin’s haunting visuals are given new life here, and it deserves to be seen even if you’re familiar with the film already. Furthermore, if you have Redemption’s previous release of the film you’ll be pleased to know that this disc has new special features. Naturally I’d recommend getting all five films in the “Cinema of Jean Rollin” collection, but if you’re being selective, LIPS OF BLOOD is likely the strongest release to pick up on its own.
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