LA GRIFFE D'HORUS a.k.a.
The Claws of Horus. France. 1990.
Director: Jean Rollin.
Note: video short.
(Review by Frederick Durand)
For years, I've been intrigued by this one. It was virtually impossible to see,
until Lucertola Media released it at the end of Rollin's Perdues
dans New-York. La Griffe d'Horus is based
on a popular series of french short novels published in the first half of the
20th century. This series were called Harry Dickson, le Sherlock Holmes américain
(Harry Dickson, the American Sherlock Holmes). It told the adventures of detective
Harry Dickson and his assistant Tom Wills. Both of them often faced strange secret
societies, near-supernatural events (sometimes explained at the end, in the classic
tradition of Ann Radcliffe). These bizarre stories featured mad scientists, gorgons,
vampires, etc. Many of these novels were written by belgian literature prodigy
Jean Ray (who published some of his short-stories in the well-known magazine Weird
Tales). Many directors, including Alain Resnais, have been trying for years to
adapt Harry Dickson. La Griffe d'Horus was somekind
of "demo" made by Rollin as an attempt to convince a producer to invest
in a TV-series... Unfortunately, the project never saw the light of day.
It is written by Jean and french writer/journalist/musician Gérard Dôle.
Jean-Michel Nicollet embodies Harry Dickson. Nicollet is a talented french illustrator.
There's also, as a policeman, François Ducos (he's a policeman in his life,
for real. Much interesting is the fact that Ducos directs the excellent french
collection Bibliothèque du Fantastique for publisher Fleuve Noir). It is
a short-short film (about 3 minutes !) obviously shot on video, quite theatrical
and close to the serials in its spirit. A TV-series would certainly have been
interesting. It's difficult to further comment this film, as its brief duration
does not allow me to pen a lenghty-analysis. Much of the film consists of a dialog
in the bureau of Dickson. Then, there's a chase for a bizarre monster and the
film ends abruptly. It was probably shot in one day, between friends.