A car flees from pursuers through the narrow roads of the French countryside. Close on it's tail are unknown occupants in a second vehicle. Shots are fired from both cars, the fleeing car escapes down a hidden track and the pursuers are lost, but the male driver is fatally wounded. The cars remaining occupants step out of the vehicle, set it on fire and the leave the scene dressed as clowns.
Welcome to the world of cult French exploitation director Jean Rollin (Les Demoniaques, Levres de Sang, La Morte Vivante). A world seemingly populated by an endless supply of lesbians, piano players, cannibals, vampires, clowns, twins and very pretty young woman who feel restricted by having to wear clothing.
Marie-Pierre Castel stars as Marie and with twin sister Catherine not available; Mireille Dargent co-stars as her friend Michelle. The two girls who flee the car dressed as clowns at the start of the movie. So with his two young nubile female leads in place Rollin sets off on making a surreal Gothic sexploitation movie with an artistic edge.
With a run time of two hours the plot is surprisingly thin (or not when you consider it’s a Rollin film). The story sees the girls wander the country side, stealing food, a motorbike and being accidentally buried in a fresh grave. Finally after about 25 minutes (but seems like an eternity) of dialogue free "action" the girls stumble upon a seemingly deserted castle and the fun begins ...
Unfortunately for the girls the castle is not as deserted as it seems, in fact it is the home of an ancient vampire and his acolytes. After slipping out of their clown suits for some naked action the girls are disturbed by a noise and go to investigate. Its not long before they cross paths with the vampire's minions who naturally decide the best course of action is to strip the girls naked and abuse them (Well this is a sexploitation film, it’s not like they where going to offer them a cup of tea). After witnessing the drawn out abuse of two other unfortunate girls Marie and Michelle decide to flee. The problem is Marie has been bitten by a female ghoul and which ever way they run it takes them back to the castle. It appears there is no escape, at least not until more firm bosoms have been squeezed to bruising point anyway.
The plot is far too threadbare to sustain the running time, even with the sweet flesh on display (Weird to think those cute young actresses are in their 50’s now), the film drags. Normally that would be a nail in the coffin for an exploitation film, they can be crap yes, but boring is a step too far. How ever Rollin has a fantastic knack for finding brilliant locations to shoot, a great eye for the artistic and a wonderful ear for music to fit his films. Requiem Pour Un Vampire is undoubtedly a film atheistic pleasing way beyond it limited budget should allow. Rollin's surrealist and expressionist cinematic touches lift it above the dross it could have been. With great touches like moving from the outside of a castle on a beautiful French summer day to the contrastingly dark and gloomy interior where Michelle is forced to whip her friend Marie into submission. For many fans one of the most memorable scenes features Louise Dhour (Les Demoniaques) playing a grand piano in the middle of a remote graveyard.
Requiem Pour Un Vampire is both artistic and exploitative in equal measure, but there’s just not enough going on to justify its length.
Trailer | youtube.com