Friday, October 24, 2008

Jean Rollin: The Collaborators (Acanthus)


It is impossible to imagine Thrill of the Vampires without the astonishing score by Acanthus. Simultaneously sloppy and majestic and containing the kind of ambition that perhaps only an inexperienced group of teenagers could possess, the music for Jean Rollin's third film is just unforgettable. The soundtrack can currently be heard on the great but sadly out of print The Films of Jean Rollin CD, as well as on the slideshow section of Encore's Le Frisson des Vampires box set. Here are a few quotes by Rollin on the band and their contribution:

"I thought it would be nice to work that in (the hippie culture). I liked the music of the group Acanthus very much. Jean-Phillipe Delammare, the brother of my assistant Jean-Noelle, had a little music publishing company. One day he told me that there were these young schoolboys, who had formed a group and liked the fantastic cinema, and that they wanted to work with me. That’s how we got together. They separated right after and never did anything else again. They disappeared.”
-To Peter Blumenstock in Virgins and Vampires and Video Watchdog 31-

“Today their pop music might seem old-fashioned. But at the time, backing Le Frisson des Vampires with modern music by a group of inexperienced high school students working with the enthusiasm generated by Jean-Phillipe Delamarre and his technicians, seemed almost avant-garde.”
-Contained in the liner notes to The Films of Jean Rollin CD-

“They were school kids and their total experience consisted of a few youth club dates and lots of wood shedding. This lack of gloss and their status as enthusiastic amateurs was very attractive to Rollin. He showed them the film and they played him pieces they already had that they felt would be suitable. They specialized in a sort of free form progressive frock, replete with slashing guitar chords and odd, lyrical snatches of flute and organ. Some of the track, the credit sequence for example, was completely improvised. The results were amazingly successful-but Acanthus, unfortunately, were not; they broke up soon after the film was released.”
-Cohill and Tombs on the band in Immoral Tales-

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