Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Grapes of Death

Much like with Chaplin, this is only the second film by French director Jean Rollin I’ve seen, though he’s obviously not quite held in as high regard as the Tramp. In fact, he’s mostly known for making “erotic” vampire movies, which would ordinarily turn me off of him, but since all of his movies that I’ve seen thus far have involved zombies, I suppose it can be forgiven.

The movie is pretty standard zombie fare, though with a couple small twists. One is that the zombies, at least the ones in the early stages, can still speak. Another is that they don’t seem to eat people, but rather just want to destroy everyone that’s not one of them. The plot concerns a girl on her way with a friend to visit her fiancée at his vineyard. While on the train she is attacked and her friend is killed by a man that’s just rotting away, and flees the train into the countryside, where after meeting a few oddballs and a lot of zombies, she discovers that the local vineyard where her fiancée works is responsible for the outbreak.

Rollin is known for using haunting, dreamlike imagery, and it’s good that the French countryside looks so nice, because we get a lot of shots of our heroine running around with nothing on screen to chase her. To be fair, there’s often a zombie or twelve chasing after her, but a lot of the time, no there isn’t. There’s also an incredibly irritating blind woman that she befriends early on, that got on my nerves so much that I kept having to unwind by reminding myself that horror movies almost never turn out well for the handicapped. The rest of the movie is decent, if uninspired, though it has a retarded ending that was very, very, very, very clumsily foreshadowed. It’s not terrible, overall, but I don’t think I’ll be checking out any more of Rollin’s films.

Rating: **

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