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THE ESCAPEES (BLU RAY) (1981)
Published by David Carter on 2015/5/31 (751 reads)
Directed by Jean Rollin
Review by David Carter
Released by Redemption/Kino Lorber
Running Time: 107 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo French/English Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: 2008 interview with Jean Rollin
Trailer Online: No
THE ESCAPEES has been called one of Rollin’s more straightforward works and, by his own admission, was an attempt to make a mainstream film after over a decade in the horror genre. Those of you familiar with Rollin’s work are well aware that it would be impossible for him to truly lose his trademark ethereal directorial style, so the end result is a movie that is still immediately recognizable as a Rollin despite lacking the thematic elements for which he is known. One of the director’s hardest-to-find and least seen works, THE ESCAPEES is now available on Blu Ray from Redemption/Kino Lorber.
Marie is a new patient at an asylum for young women and the staff feels that her refusal to communicate may be incurable. Rebellious Michelle refuses to stop communicating in the form of her loud and occasionally violent protests against her confinement. Fate brings the two together after Michelle’s latest incident, the frightened Marie finding a comfort in Michelle, who reluctantly agrees to let Marie tag along on her latest escape attempt.
Travelling as a duo proves to be more successful than Michelle’s previous attempts, and shortly after escaping the girls join forces with a travelling burlesque show. Michelle initially rejects Marie’s unhealthy attachment to her but eventually relents and makes plans to stowaway on a Brazil-bound ship with her friend in tow. Before they can make the journey, the girls are confronted with a bizarre cast of characters and strange situations standing in their way.
THE ESCAPEES doesn’t have a single vampire or zombie, but no one would ever mistake it for being anything other than a Jean Rollin film. Somber and oneiric, THE ESCAPEES feels at times like a vampire-less remake of REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE. That may have been Rollin’s intention seeing as how the female leads in both films share the same names. THE ESCAPEES is a more “mainstream” film than his earlier works, but not by much. Marie and Michelle are very much typical Rollin characters – though lacking in fangs – and they experience many of the same types of things seen in his other films, with the main change being the setting. Rather than traipsing through gothic castles, Marie and Michelle navigate shipyards and seedy dive bars but their adventures are no less bizarre than those of their predecessors.
Redemption’s Blu Ray of THE ESCAPEES is excellent. Rollin used a very grey and muted pallet for the film but the print is still very crisp and clear and the rare moments of vibrant color pop well. THE ESCAPEES may not be “essential” Rollin but it will definitely be a treat for his hardcore fans. This movie is a great example of Rollin’s strengths as a director; making a challenging and entertaining film without the supernatural and erotic content present in his other works.
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