This erotic horror film, set in 1905, tells the story of a thief who seeks refuge in a castle owned by two women, Eva (Brigitte Lahaie) and Elizabeth (Franca Mai). The women are seductive and teasing, but turn out to be part of a vampiric cult of blood-drinking aristocrats. -IMDb
Ever since his feature debut with the controversial Rape of the Vampire (1967), French horror auteur Jean Rollin has gained a loyal cult following for his stylishly gothic exercises in erotic horror.
Born into an artistically inclined family on November 3, 1938, in Neuilly-sur-Siene, France, Rollin’s father was an actor and theater director, inspiring both Rollin and his brother to pursue careers in show business. Editing recruitment films during World War II provided Rollin with an entry into film, with the future director finding subsequent work in an animation studio before stepping behind the camera. A scant few years after working as an assistant director in the early ‘60s, Rollin made his feature directorial debut with Rape of the Vampire. Greeted with outrage and violent protest upon release, the film nevertheless established Rollin’s continuing themes of eroticism and vampiric fetish while at the same time finding his visual style developing an atmosphere of otherworldly… read more
Fascination would make Hegel proud: the film is both tasteful and sleazy. The soft focus, gentle color palette, and genteel costumes/interiors lend an air of sophistication/restraint to the lurid bits. Depravity has never felt so deliciously softcore! Performances and plotting, lacking emotional/psychological realism, lend themselves to a Postmodern reading. Is there anything to glean from these sensuous surfaces?
No matter how much time passes, there's no duplicating the fog-enshrouded atmosphere of these Eurohorror films. Here, director Jean Rollin masterfully navigates the fine line between arthouse and exploitation, with a story that almost feels like the Marquis de Sade by way of Bram Stoker. What's not to love: we've got an arrogant thief who's in over his head, an isolated chateau in the middle of the French countryside, and two comely ladies who know a lot more than they're letting on. "Fascination" unfolds in that unhurried, dreamy manner of Rollin's and for once the denouement skirts any issues of the supernatural. This film registers as a must-see for anyone curious about Rollin's catalog.
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