The Nude Vampire

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You think you’d know what you are getting when watching a movie called The Nude Vampire, but Jean Rollin is a man who subverts expectations. The Nude Vampire isn’t about vampires and the vampire isn’t nude. It is, however, one of the better movies Mr. Rollin has directed.

The opening sequence of The Nude Vampire is visually striking, with no dialogue for the first ten minutes. A man in a hood draws blood from a topless woman, also hooded, in a lab brimming with test tubes full of brightly colored dyes. Cut to a woman fleeing three men wearing bizarre animal masks. She runs into a man – our hero Pierre – who tries to protect her. The masked men shoot the woman and take her body to a tenement. Pierre follows the murderers back, eventually gaining entrance to a private party where the guests kill themselves so that the selfsame woman can drink their blood. Which means *gasp* she’s a vampire. Or is she?

Pierre’s dad Georges is an evil industrialist. Think Obadiah Stane of Iron Man or Mr. Lodge of Archie comics. He has a female sidekick, Solange, who does his dirty work and he keeps a pair of female twins as pets/sex slaves. At one point the twins dress Pierre – who’s supposed to be our hero – but whatever.

Pierre soon uncovers his father’s plot. The woman his dad’s keeping locked up is immortal, and he’s trying to uncover the secret of her immortality. The purpose of the suicide club is to provide the woman with blood, because they think she’s a vampire. After Pierre crashes the party Georges and his flunkies move to a chateau in the country. This turns out to be a big mistake.

The second half of The Nude Vampire isn’t as good as the first, mostly because the answers aren’t as interesting as the questions. The plot is quite complex, and this movie does stand up as a decent 1970’s science fiction movie, even if the special effects aren’t great in places.

I believe I stated in an earlier review that Jean Rollin movies don’t have plots. Many of them do. The first Jean Rollin movie I saw was Requiem for the Vampire, which starts with a big chase scene and ends in a vampire den with not much plot in between, but that movie is the exception rather than the rule. If you like Eurotrash and/or Jean Rollin movies, The Nude Vampire is a must-see.

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