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Adam Jahnke - Main Page

The Blood Rose

The Blood Rose
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 silly.

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.

Philippe 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 trailer.

I'll have more from Mondo Macabro myself tomorrow. Y'all come back now, hear?

Film Rating: C+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B-/B+

Adam Jahnke

Adam Jahnke - Main Page
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