Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jean Rollin: The A Virgin Among The Living Dead Footage?

"Frédérick Durand- The legendary European firm Eurociné contacted you, in the eighties, to direct some false screen tests for a supposed on-going project of a zombie film to come. These scenes were included in Jess Franco's A virgin among the living-dead. What was your reaction to this odd fraudulent abstraction ?

Jean Rollin- It wasn't a fraudulent abstraction, just a command. Eurociné told me : « We need 15 minutes of living-dead footage. Do you want to direct it ? » I did it, I was paid, during a day. We shot 20 minutes in one day - that's not bad - and we did what he (Marius Lesoeur) wanted. It's supposed to be in A virgin among the living-dead, I don't know about it, I never saw that film. Once again, it wasn't a fraudulent abstraction - I knew from the beginning that these scenes were going to be included somewhere."
-Shocking Images, 1996-

Around the time he shot Zombie Lake for Eurocine, Jean Rollin filmed some additional footage that was eventually spliced into Jess Franco's mesmerizing 1971 production A Virgin Among the Living Dead. Image's DVD of Franco's original cut of the film (or the closest thing to it) has a section of 'deleted scenes' that reportedly contain the footage Rollin shot. According to Immoral Tales, Tim Lucas was among the first to discover that it was Rollin whom had shot this Zombie footage, and it seems a pretty good bet that the stills below taken from the Image disc represent it, although I am not sure if it has ever been totally verified.
While the footage is nothing that special, I highly recommend Image's DVD as A Virgin Among the Living Dead is among Jess Franco's most haunting and masterful films. Even though the Rollin connection is a small one, I thought these stills were more than worth posting here since this is the footage he more than likely shot.


Pidde Andersson said...

The very first Franco movie I saw, was A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, featuring the Rollin zombies. I bought a British ex-rental of it in 1988-89 or so.
Then in 1993, I had a little cult movie show on a local TV channel, and when I talked about Franco in one episode, I showed clips from A VIRGIN. However, it was the zombies a showed. I had no idea those scenes were shot by Rollin, so that episode of my show turned out pretty weird.

Erich Kuersten said...

It's interesting too that there's such a strong Franco link to Rollin's Zombie Lake, with its use of Daniel White score and Howard Vernon as the mayor