woensdag 15 juni 2011

Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973)

Jesus (Jess) Franco's Virgin Among the Living Dead.. that sounds epic. I encountered some weird things while watching the Dutch release by DFW. It's the 'uncut and uncensored' version (DC), the way it was supposed to be. It seems like thereare different versions where he added more erotic scenes and/or zombies. I'm confused, but I'll try the best I can to sort this out.

The DC is 76 minutes long. Then there's a version known as 'Princesse de l'Erotisme' which has additional erotic scenes. And then there's another version with scenes from Jean Rollin's ''Zombie Lake''...what the... Thank god i have the DC! The funny thing is that the movie shows 'FIN' after 76 minutes (and the story is indeed finished), yet it still has 10 minutes left on the clock. During these closing minutes, we get the first glimps of the actual living dead. It wasn't necessary, but you won't hear me complain about some extra trashy-zombie footage.
The story is pretty basic. Christina Benton is on her way to visit the castle where her father died. She meets a couple of her family members who are acting quite strange. It doesn't take too long before Christina begins to see visions of her dead father who's giving her orders to find the killer. Franco mixes things up with surrealistic aspects and some erotic touches.

The reason why I'm glad I saw the DC is because I liked it the way it is. Without any zombies and without an erotic overdose. It has a great vibe and the cinematography works suprisingly well, even though the entire movie reeks of cheapness. The acting isn't worth shit and the English dub is horrible. But Franco suprised me with his carefull approach, giving the film the time it needs to unfold into something interesting.
There are some great shots, like the scene where she follows her father who's hanging from a rope yet moving through the woods. Also, the ending is pure magic. The music gives it the perfect dreamy vibe and he really captured the emotionless state of mind of the characters. It's a good thing he didn't attempt anything big because in this case: less is more.

Franco is hard to love, but he convinced me with this one. This virgin isn't something that will blow your mind, but it works suprisingly well. It's extremely hard to explain the atmosphere he creates, but the tension inside the house and also outside in the woods works. The crazy family turned out really well, with an 'ok' part for Franco himself and some great tittie displaying by Christina von Blanc and Britt Nichols.

Score: 80/100


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