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TWO ORPHAN VAMPIRES

This, the late Jean Rollinís ďtriumphant returnĒ to the type of seventies-era vampire cinema that made his name, appeared in 1997. Itís hardly triumphant!

The Package
     Although heíd live another 13 years, the formerly prolific Jean Rollin only made three more films after this one. Clearly the passion that informed his earlier films (THE RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE, REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE, THE GRAPES OF DEATH, etc) had long since deserted him, as TWO ORPHAN VAMPIRES (LES DEUX ORPHELINES VAMPIRES), based on Rollinís own 1993 novel, isnít nearly as strong.

The Story
     Two blind orphan "girls" (who look to be in their mid-twenties) turn up at a convent one day. A kindly nun takes them in, not realizing that the girls are actually vampires who are only blind during the day. They prove this the following night, when their sight returns and they frolic in a nearby cemetery. There they drink the blood of a dog and run into a self-proclaimed she-wolf who lives in fear of mortals.
     The girls are adopted by a kindly doctor whose busy schedule allows them plenty of time to indulge their vampiric predilections. Roaming through their favorite cemetery the girls drink the blood of a young woman and, fleeing the galís shocked boyfriend, run into a much older vampire babe who calls herself the Midnight Queen. She allows the girls to sleep in her underground lair but demands they leave in the morning. This they do, and in the process drink each othersí blood and get shot by the doctor, who mistakes them for intruders.
     The girls decide to kill the doctor, which they accomplish by hitting him over the head with a vase. By this point the neighboring townspeople have caught on to the fact that there are vampires in their midst, and come after the girls in mass. The gals do their best to escape the mob, getting a sweet little girl to help them out, but doom is closing inÖ

The Direction
     Viewers hoping for traces of the erotic poetry of Jean Rollinís earlier films wonít find too many such glimpses here. The film feels stilted and perilously under-scripted (a factor, admittedly, of nearly all Rollinís films). There are some appealingly odd moments, as in the night scene where the two naked protagonists ecstatically canoodle outside their masterís bedroom window, but not enough to make the film worthwhile.
     One particularly inexplicable decision was the use of an overpowering, and frankly pretty awful, synthesizer music score, which severely undercuts the effectiveness of the film overall--something the Rollin of old would have never allowed.
     Rollin tries to drum up some nostalgia for the old days by featuring seventies sleaze starlets Tina Aumont and Brigitte Lahaie (a former Rollin regular) in cameos, but itís strictly a case of too little, too late, as both ladies were far from their prime. As for the two lead actresses, they evidently canít act a lick--the way they perform every action in tandem, far from the haunting effect Rollin appears to have been trying for, comes off as stilted and amateurish. Yet in the ladiesí defense, I imagine it must have been difficult to properly emote while reciting lines like ďWeíre the vampiric orphans, we canít fly in the sky but we can see in the nightÖand we bite

 
Vital Statistics

TWO ORPHAN VAMPIRES (LES DEUX ORPHELINES VAMPIRES)
Eurocine

Director: Jean Rollin
Screenplay: Jean Rollin
(Based on a novel by Jean Rollin)
Cinematography: Norbert Morfaing-Sintes
Editing: Natalie Perrey
Cast: Alexandra Pic, Isabelle Teboul, Bernard Charnace, Natalie Perrey, Anne Duguel, Nathalie Karsenty, Anissa Berkani-Rohmer, Tina Aumont, Veronique Djaouti, Brigitte Lahaie

     

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