Jean Rollin "was a double outsider," argues Dave Kehr in the New York Times, "a filmmaker drawn to the fantastique in a country that had a limited tradition of genre filmmaking as well as a proud tradition of Cartesian rationalism that discouraged explorations of the supernatural. What France did offer, however, was a thriving interest in eroticism, and when Rollin was finally able to make his first feature, The Rape of the Vampire (1968), he did so by combining his childhood fascination with American cliffhanger serials and early-20th-century French fantasists like Gaston Leroux (author of The Phantom of the Opera) with gauzy nudes and exotic couplings." The British company Redemption is "collaborating with Kino International to release handsomely remastered Blu-rays, taken from the original camera negatives, of five key Rollin titles: The Nude Vampire (1970), The Shiver of the Vampires (1971), The Iron Rose (1973), Lips of Blood (1975) and Fascination (1979)."
"Entering Rollin's cinematic world may require higher than usual levels of what the poet Samuel Coleridge termed 'the willing suspension of disbelief,' but hang in there, the rewards are multifarious," writes Budd Wilkins in Slant. "Slow and seemingly disjointed, Rollin's erotic horror films don't proceed along well-worn, generically approved grooves… Nudity is de rigueur, and deployed without shame. As a rule, violence is entirely histrionic, presented as little more than an abstract rhetorical gesture, an excuse for the spilling of copious amounts of stage blood…. When it comes to directing actors drawn largely from the ranks of the amateur or else recruited from the less salubrious realms of pornography, soft and hard, Rollin can be considered the Robert Bresson of Euroshock; his characters tend to declaim poetically wrought lines in a flat, affectless, nearly somnambulistic manner that only adds to the films' off-kilter and dreamlike atmosphere."
For Twitch, J Hurtado reviews The Nude Vampire, The Shiver of the Vampires, The Iron Rose, Lips of Blood and Fascination. [Update, 1/30: More from Sean Axmaker at the Parallax View.]
Back in the NYT, Andy Webster: "It's easy to see why the British writer-director Robin Hardy would want to reimagine his 1973 cult horror classic The Wicker Man. Take one glimpse at Neil LaBute's remake from 2006, starring Nicolas Cage — now enshrined in the pantheon of high-camp turkeys — and Mr Hardy's need to set matters aright makes sense. The Wicker Tree, based on Mr Hardy's novel Cowboys for Christ, and a companion piece to the 1973 film, infinitely surpasses the LaBute fiasco, but can't beat the raw, earthy and mythic (and far more low-budget) power of the first."
Cage, in the meantime, as James Wallace reports at FirstShowing, would like to have Hideo Nakata direct him in a sequel to the remake, set in Japan, mind you, in which he appears as a ghost.
Los Angeles. Tonight at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, Monsters, Movies and Trailers From Hell! will feature John Landis and Joe Dante talking horror and promoting their wares, Landis's book, Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares, and Dante's DVD compilation Trailers From Hell: Volume 2, based, of course, on the site. Sari Heifetz Stricke has a preview in the LAT. Landis has recently been a guest on Elvis Mitchell's The Treatment. "John Landis, who I know very well," David Cronenberg tells Jonathan Penner in a long interview for the Los Angeles Review of Books, "is a genre freak. He's a maven. He loves the genre of horror and sci-fi. Whereas for me that was never my goal. I'm not a nostalgia freak. I have great moments of affection for things and movies I saw as a kid, but I never had a need to recapture that by you know, doing it again. So I think that's part of the difference. Many American films are really films about films."
Awards. "For the first time, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has handed out international prizes, and Oscar frontrunner The Artist took home three of the five awards," reports Dave Karger, briefly, for Entertainment Weekly.
And finally for now, Jackson Pollock would have been 100 today, so Time's posted a photo gallery. If you're looking for a short related read, there's Mark Hudson's in the Telegraph.