Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Hidden Cinema of Jean Rollin: La Griffe D’Horus (1990)

Among the most intriguing abandoned projects of Jean Rollin’s career is the proposed television production La Griffe D’Horus, a half-hour script Rollin had fashioned on pulp detective Harry Dickson. Sadly, due to the inability to get funding or find a home for the project, the only thing that survives for La Griffe D’Horus was a rough under three minute shot-on-video test that can now be seen on the German edition of The Grapes of Death as an extra. Rollin recounted the frustrating journey of the project to Peter Blumenstock in the pages of Video Watchdog and Virgins and Vampires:

“One day, a guy named Gerard Dole called me up and asked for a meeting. He said that he was a specialist on famous pulp-detective Harry Dickson and that he had also written a collection of related stories called The New Adventures of Harry Dickson…We approached Channel 1, and they were interested, but they said they would have to buy the rights to the character first. The problem was, the original stories were written by Jean Ray, and the film rights were absolutely impossible to get; the more recent ones were written by anonymous writers, which makes the matter equally difficult.
We found a small publisher…but the first thing out of their mouth was ‘Jean Rollin will never touch Harry Dickson as long as we live!’ They HATED me!”

Rollin called the extremely short surviving footage of La Griffe D’Horus more of a ‘screen-test’ than anything else and told Blumenstock that it was shot quickly in ‘one afternoon’ with Harry Dickson expert and book-cover designer Jean-Michel Nicollet starring.

Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs expand a bit on the story in Immoral Tales by writing that the footage compiled actually equaled ’22 minutes’, but that longer version has not appeared to my knowledge. They also noted that the short film was very much in the spirit of Rollin’s original works, as it shot with a, “group of friends, enthusiasts and non-professionals.” Noting that La Griffe D’Horus was just, “one in a long series of disappointments that the 1980’s brought to Rollin”, Tohill and Tombs description of the lost project reminds us that it could have been a really special work that could have helped Rollin in the roughest section of his career. Thankfully a rebirth was on the way…

A Report on Jean Rollin's Le Masque de la Méduse

My friend Christian was kind enough to send me these links he posted over at Psychovision regarding Rollin's new film Le Masque de la Méduse. These links are in French but contain many enticing stills from Rollin's new film as well as photos from a recent retrospective. Here is the report on the film and here is the one on the Retrospective. Thanks to Christian for supplying these and for offering the exciting news that Rollin is indeed already hard at work on his next project!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cinezilla's look at Two Orphan Vampires

Hey all, my apologies for the lack of updates here in the past couple of weeks. I am currently in the midst of a massive Paul Thomas Anderson tribute and blogathon at my main site Moon in the Gutter, and I am also getting married in a few weeks, so I have just been extremely busy. New posts are on the way soon here though. For now, head back over to Cinezilla as Jason has just written great piece on Two Orphan Vampires for us to enjoy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Behind the Scenes with Jean Rollin (Various)

Here are some more splendid behind the scenes shots taken from that German DVD of The Grapes of Death.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jeunes Filles Impudiques Contest Winner

Congratulations to Thomas Duke over at Cinema Gonzo for winning a copy of Finders Keepers Jeunes Filles Impudiques E.P. with this excellent piece on discovering Rollin and celebrating The Iron Rose. I really love Thomas' piece on the film, where he connects Rollin to Bresson, and I hope he enjoys the record! Here is the first section of his article and the rest can be read by following the link at the end. Thanks again Thomas and enjoy the E.P.!

"I think my initial exposure to the films of Jean Rollin was a viewing of Requiem For a Vampire, the old U.S. Redemption DVD release. Considering the misleading cover, I was expecting something along the lines of one of the Jess Franco vampire films (like Vampyros Lesbos), but got something entirely different. I was immediately entranced by this nearly wordless fairy tale, taking place in and around a crumbling French castle, in a tangible world both darkly mysterious and beautifully decrepit; a fantasy of the earth. While not at all what I expected, I was instantly hooked, and sought out all of the films of his that I could find. Rollin’s films are often equated in terms of their sex and horror elements, as leisurely paced genre efforts, but I think this is a case of a director who works inside of a genre (the Euro sex/horror film) in order to do something of his own making, only containing several surface elements of what is normally expected of these kinds of films." Click here to continue reading the full post over at Cinema Gonzo.