Reviews & Commentary

Fascination (1979)

According to exploitation legend, the story of Fascination started when Jean Rollin imagined two turn-of-the-century women dancing, and indeed that is the image that opens the film. The women are Elizabeth (Franca Mai) and Eva (Brigitte Lahaie), two of a circle of noblewomen, led by Hélène (Fanny Magier), who have developed a taste for human blood and lure unsuspecting men to their midnight ceremonies. Into their clutches wanders Marc (Jean-Marie Lemaire), a thief on the run from the partners he’s double-crossed. In short, it’s pretty much lesbian vampire story 1A.


Written by Kalle on Thursday May 5, 2011
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, jean-rollin, brigitte-lahaie, lesbian-vampire

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (1995)

The Diamond Age is a, somewhat indirect, sequel to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel, Snow Crash, which explored a world where nation-states had broken down and been replaced by distributed republics called “Franchise Oriented Quasi-National Entities” (FOQNEs)—autonomous enclaves run as franchises of some corporation, party, or ideal, e.g. “Narcolombia” (the Medellin cartel), “CosaNostra Pizza” (the mafia), and so on. The plot concerned a memetic virus modelled on the Sumerian concept of me—a sort of programming language for human brains.


Written by Kalle on Monday May 2, 2011
Permalink - Category: Books - Tags: 2000s, sf

The Nude Vampire (1970)

So, The Nude Vampire: Dr Radamante (Maurice Lemaître) and his colleagues (Bernard Musson, Jean Aron) are evil scientists (is there any other kind), holding a young woman they believe to be a vampire (Caroline Cartier) hostage. For some reason, their plan involves a suicide cult, people in animal masks, interpretive dance, and girls in strange costumes. I’m sure it would have all played into their master plan, except before it can come to fruition, the vampire girl escapes, right into the arms of Radamante’s son, Pierre (Olivier Rollin). She’s recaptured, but not before piquing young Pierre’s curiosity.


Written by Kalle on Thursday April 28, 2011
Permalink - Tags: 1970s, vampire, jean-rollin

Female Vampire (1973)

Jess Franco has never really been one for tight plotting, which he proves yet again in 1973′s Female Vampire. Franco himself (under one of his many pen-names, Jess Franck) stars as Dr Roberts, a pathologist investigating a series of murders he, quite rightly, believes are being perpetrated by a vampire. Franco’s muse, Lina Romay in one of her first starring roles, plays Countess Irina Karlstein, a vampire who walks around naked and kills some people. Our leading man is Jack Taylor who plays — I dunno, a poet? He doesn’t really do much for the first hour of the film, except trim his moustache and wax philosophical in voice-over. He does have a handsome moustache, though. That’s really all the plot there is.


Written by Kalle on Thursday April 21, 2011
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, vampire, lina-romay, jess-franco

La nuit des horloges (2007)

Unlike Jess Franco, who — as regular readers will remember — has regressed as director, Jean Rollin seems to have quietly grown into an accomplished auteur. His penultimate film, La nuit des horloges (“the night of the clocks”), is an artistic tour de force and by far the best Rollin film I’ve seen. Indeed, by far the best exploitation film I’ve seen in a long while.


Written by Kalle on Monday April 18, 2011
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 2000s, jean-rollin

Maid in Sweden (1971)

One of Maid in Sweden‘s writers uses the pseudonym “Mike Hunt”. That should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of this film, but since I’m supposed to be offering reviews and commentary (it says so right in the title)...


Written by Kalle on Friday April 9, 2010
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, christina-lindberg

Journey to Japan (1973)

Any time I sit down to watch a film for review, there’s a risk I’ll sit there ninety minutes later staring at an blank notebook page and nothing interesting to say about the film. Usually, I just move on to the next film, but I thought I’d make an exception for Journey to Japan, just to see if I can find anything to say about it that isn’t either boring or obvious. Let’s see.


Written by Kalle on Wednesday April 7, 2010
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, christina-lindberg

What Have They Done to Solange (1972)

A gym teacher and Italian professor at a girls’ high school, Enrico Rosseni (Fabio Testi), is out on a river with his student/lover, Elizabeth (Cristina Galbó), when the lover sees a girl being chased on the river bank. Rosseni is dismissive, but when he hears a news report about the body of a girl being found by the river the next morning, he realises he’s gotten himself involved in a murder, and finds himself under the watchful eye of Inspector Barth (Joachim Fuchsberger) of the Scotland Yard. Then more young girls are found brutally murdered and Inspector Barth’s and Rosseni’s investigations lead them to an overwhelming question: What did they do to Solange (Camille Keaton), and how exactly is it connected to the murders?


Written by Kalle on Friday April 2, 2010
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, giallo, camille-keaton

Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

There is a truism in video game fandom and criticism that games based on movie and comic book licenses tend to be bad. Some a little bit bad and some mind-bogglingly bad (ET and Superman 64 being the classic examples). Trying to disprove this theory, Rocksteady teamed up with Batman: The Animated Series (among others) writer Paul Dini to create Batman: Arkham Asylum. According to Guinness, who certified Arkham Asylum “the most critically acclaimed super hero game ever”, they succeeded.


Written by Kalle on Monday March 29, 2010
Permalink - Category: Video games - Tags: 2000s, comic-book