Shivers [1975]

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 110 minutes

Jean Rollin's surreal and strange cult classic is a nutty mix of hippie vampires, lesbian seduction, and moonlight ceremonies in a graveyard bathed in red and blue light. A honeymooning couple stops at a crumbling castle to visit the oddball cousins of bride Isolde, who have supposedly just passed away but mysteriously show up for dinner. Decked out in hep Carnaby Street duds, they entertain their guests with tales of religious research and the worship of Isis, tossing the story back and forth like a game of verbal Ping-Pong. While the groom Antoine discovers their bloodsucking secret as they stake a recent victim in their cellar ("We must not pass on this terrible curse"), Isolde is seduced by a statuesque female vampire who steps out of a grandfather clock and into her bed, the first of many memorable entrances. Even more absurd than most of Rollin's low-budget horror fantasies, The Shiver of the Vampires is one of his most inventive productions, a gorgeously photographed, dreamy look into the erotic lure of vampirism set to a groovy instrumental progressive rock score. Like a skin flick for surrealists, the film is full of passages of naked women wordlessly wandering through the castle hallways and towers, and in true Rollin fashion he can't seem to decide if the gallant groom or the bloodsucking sensualists are the true heroes of this counter-culture vampire tale. The DVD features French and English trailers, a gallery of production stills, and a Rollin filmography. --Sean Axmaker

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