(This film is an entry in Final Girl’s Film Club. Domain of the great writer, auteur, web comic artist, and Raimifest booster/participant, Stacie Ponder!)
Oh Roger Vadim.
Those three words really tell you just about everything you need to know about what kind of film Blood And Roses.
Like Russ Meyer’s yet somehow tawdrier, Vadim was the euro trash sleaze merchant who parlayed his child bride into a career of international fame and notoriety (It helped that said child bride was Bridgette Bardot). When Bardot dumped his ass Vadim went around spreading sleaze and ever heaving bosoms across celluloid like the herpes simplex with a camera. Making lots of overheated, overrated cheesecake (Barbarella) in the process and a few demented masterpieces (Pretty Maids All In A Row) in the bargain.
Blood And Roses, like many of Vadim’s tributes to panting cleavage is somewhere in between. The method I watched it from had both tracking marks and pixilation after Netflix belatedly decided that it didn’t have it available to Instant Watch after all (But It’s On The Queue !!!) and that seems just perfect. The Last Waltz famously started with the maxim “This Film Should Be Played As Loud As Possible”. Blood And Roses should start with an inter title that reads “This Film Should Be Played As Low Rently As Possible.”
The film follows Carmilla who jealous of her friends wedding and determined to have the groom for herself is led to madness/the tomb of a dormant vampire. This all connects to a local legend/curse somehow. Quicker then you can say “Sapphic Tension” Carmilla is possessed by the spirit of the vampire and is giving her friend long significant looks as they both stand soaking wet in a greenhouse and ah, well excuse me but it seems as though my glasses have fogged up.
The film does make time for some bloodsucking as well. With Carmilla stalking an equally buxom young village girl and then herself being chased over the moors panting and heaving and a… darn glasses.
The film tone alternates between resembling low rent Mario Bava with its moonlit creeps in the graveyard and the dark past reaching through the years to destroy the present and the seediest, silliest, cheapest, Fellini knock off ever in it’s wild extravagant carnival nature and sexual peccadilloes.
The thing that makes watching Vadim’s films so strange is the omnipresent awareness that every concern is tertiary to the boobs. Roger Vadim is a slave to tits the way that Michael Bay is a slave to explosions. Story, plot, style, themes, all these are merely a means to an end. A carrier for Vadim’s true passion, ie the portrayal of heaving, buxom mammary flesh on screen.
All in all Blood And Roses is a high class example of low taste. Best of all at seventy three minutes it doesn’t wear out its welcome. Strangely personal and wildly demented Blood And Roses is everything you want from Roger Vadim and exploitation movies in general.
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