Wednesday, April 14, 2010



The latest release in the line of OLOGY books alongside Dragonology and Pirateology comes Vampireology, a wonderful little plush book whose style I am quite fond of.

As a proud owner of the Vampire Hunter's Handbook and Demon Hunter's Handbook among others, I enjoy these books with a passion. Produced in the usual Journal Entry style of similar titles, Vampireology chronicles the creation of vampires from a line of Fallen Angels cum Demons named Moloch, Belial and Ba'al.

Destroyed by Archangel Michael and rendered to ash, primitive man found the remains and worshipped them, causing these monstrosities to resurrect as the world's first vampires. From here they took control of the Earth and established the Rule of Three whereas a vampire could only create three progeny lest the world become overun by vampires, and the blood supply of humans placed in peril.

The journal is filled with letters, news articles, pictures and personal items of the Last Protector, an Archibald Brooks who was a quasi-Van Helsing. He bequeaths his journal to his successor Joshua T. Kraik whom while reading this tome discovers the ghastly history of the vampires and his own need to take up the mantle of Protector to keep the world safe from The Fallen Ones.

Brooks describes the strength and weaknesses of vampires, some attributed as more powerful to each bloodline such as immense strength, speed, enchanced senses, mesmerism and shape-shifting. Brooks explains that vampires can take many forms including other predators such as Snow Leopards, and even a Cloud of Bats or a Nest of Spiders, though seperating one's form for too long is uncomfortable.

Vampires are daywalkers and their powers are not sapped by the light of the sun, though they are less compelled to kill in broad daylight preferring to kill from the shadows. Garlic annoys them, and religious objects are useless unless the bearer possesses immense Faith. The Fallen Ones do not require permission to enter a mortal dwelling, and their lack of reflection is relative to their stage of hunger. The more ravenous, the paler the reflection.

Most vampires are motivated by Earthly greed so if you are pursued or wish to detect a vampire dropping such things as pearls or coins may reveal a vampire. Grains of rice are explained in this myth not as an obssessive compulsive trait, but for the fact that rice was once used as currency in times past. Vampires cannot eat food, so any person who regularly denies hospitality should fall under immediate suspicion.

Vampires are difficult to destroy, only weakened by a stake through the heart, and must either be completely drained of blood, turned to ash or the head seperated from the body to insure destruction. Creating a vampire is a three-step process of draining a Chosen One, much like the old vampire stories/movies. Once the last bite has occured, the Chosen One must be completely drained of blood and ingests the vampire's own blood to turn.

Throughout the book Kraik details a correspondence with one Countessa D'Amigliani of Venice who is aware of Brook's Journal and as she admits to knowledge of The Fallen Ones initiates a detailed correspondence with Kraik and eventually begs him to come to Venice with the book so together they may solve the mystery of The Fallen Ones.

Mentioned in the book also are other allies in the war against these Demons. The Were-folk who are the natural enemies of the Vampires, men who aren't immortal or undead but outlive most humans and possess the strength to battle a vampire head on, and the Mysterious Slayer, a repentive Belial who has taken the form of a young girl. Together these three warrior types formed a Circle Of Protection that Kraik hopes once more to assemble.

This was a lovely book and returns Vampires to their sinister blood-thirsty (and Gothic Horror) origins. In this book Vampire Romance does exist, inasmuch as Vampires cruelly seduce mortals for selfish purposes perhaps to gauge their worthiness as future progeny. The art was exquisite and lush, provided by five different artists, and the journals writings along with some hidden compartments were fun. Included were shards of silver, pearls and other items a would-be Protector could use to start his quest towards the destruction of The Fallen Ones.

My Grade is B+

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vampire Dreams

From what I understand a lot of Horror/Vampire authors get their ideas from dreams they have, along with influences from their favourite vampire games/movies/tv shows.

For the last 5+ years I've had the same recurring vampire dream that is set in the same town, and is very episodic in a fashion. I cannot control when I have these episodic dreams, but when I am having them I know they are another part of the same whole and when I wake up I can remember them better than most others in full vivid Gothic Horror colours.

The dreams always start in an old video store in the same country town. I'm not sure what city it's in (It's obviously fictional) but it's surrounded by mountains and seems set in or around the late 1980s. The membership of this video store is exclusive invitation-only and seems to move around the town somehow. Sometimes it's at the end of an alley way, sometimes on the main street. So far I've only met one other member (though the store has other customers while I'm there) besides the store's owner and she helped me choose some titles during my first time there.

I say 1980s because the video store is just stocked with VHS horror tapes and no dvds. The store is filled with vampire movies that don't exist, and most contain the same vampire protagonist. The films seems European in nature though have the same Gothic Aesthetic as Hammer Horror but 100 times darker. They are bleak and morbid and while the main vampire is the protagonist he is not a hero.

So I rent a pile of these movies and go back to my house. When I insert the tape at the start I am on my couch watching them, and then suddenly for some of the film I am in the movie. Sometimes I am the Vampire, sometimes not. Most of the dreams seem to be set in the present with one so far set in the medieval past in the vampire's European castle. Sometimes I will be in a room with other vampires attending some kind of gathering but so far the dream has been 80% town/ 20% movie, though there is a blur between the two.

The vampire VHS cases seem to have a magical quality about them as well. When you remove them from the shelf at the store and look at the back, besides the synopsis is a thick plastic card not too different from the ones used in 3D gimmicks where you can tip them on angles and see a different scene.

The difference here is similar to Harry Potter where the card actually plays a trailer of the movie, similar to the moving photographs in HP, but there is no electronics in the VHS case to allow this. Vampires exist in this town in real life, and I am aware of them as they are of me, and I am also friends with one that owns a club but I am still human (I think). I'd say the town doesn't have more then 200-300 people in it, and when I think about it, the town resembles something out of a Stephen King story, similar to Salem's Lot but not as hilly.

There is something about the VHS covers themselves. When you look at them, even if you are a horror fan they fill you with an immense feeling of dread mixed with excitement, but you are compelled to watch them. When I pick up a movie I am ecstatic that I finally got hold of said movie as if I knew it existed but it was hard to find and I am compelled to rent it.

I also have to say none of these movies are low budget fare, and I am quite disgruntled that nothing like these movies exist in the real world. Even the Subspecies/Vampire Journals movies which are my favourites including the Yorga films do not match them!

Anyways, this last Vampire film was titled LUST, whereas lust meant bloodLUST. The film was a continuation of the same vampire series (having the same vamp) and it wasn't pornographic in any fashion, and was set in an old Gothic house (probably in my dream's home town) where the vampire was visiting someone, a young girl and her family.

He normally sleeps beneath a house in an ornate tomb and coffin. What's funny is that he resembles Kinski from Nosferatu in Venice and I have no idea why he does, though I am very fond of that movie, and it's inherent bleakness and wonderful setting.

He doesn't possess the same personality (or history) as Kinski's Nosferatu, but to be honest I don't think I've ever heard him speak in my dreams so I don't have the full picture.

During my dream I seem to fluctuate between these 'movies' and life in the town, and while the expostition isn't semi-apocalyptic like Salem's Lot or Nosferatu in Venice I can tell that it's heading towards something sinister.

Before you say why haven't you written about this as a story, the answer is I am trying to. But you might understand that having the remembered visuals of a dream, and trying to put those down into words is not an easy task!

Funny just now I just did a search for horror vhs tapes as a pic for this article and the first picture came across the one I have on my left. A video store called BLACK LODGE video, and they still stock VHS tapes mostly Horror. My video store in my dream almost looks like this, except it's more sinister and has a more gothic decor. A further check though and they stock DVDs but still I'm happy something like that exists.

There is a video store near my house called TRASH VIDEO that stocked VHS Horror in my teen years where I discovered Hammer, Yorga, Franco and Rollin so I am assuming my dream store is inspired by that store.

Part of my hesistation to write about these dreams is some similarity to The Japanese Ringu films. My dream plots are linked to these tapes which seem to be 'cursed' inasmuch they pull the watcher in to them, or affect them somehow. But perhaps the fact that I appear in and out of the movie could be just some weird non-linear dream mojo.

So what do you think, and at the same time I'd love to hear about your vampire dreams, if you have any. Also have any of these dreams influenced your writing?

Grave Reviews #14


Director: Roger Corman

Starring: Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr and Debra Paget.

Based on a story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P Lovecraft (but strangely attributed to Edgar Allan Poe as one of Corman's Eight Poe Adaptations).

I love a love/hate relationship with Vincent Price. Actually it's mostly hate as he annoys me terribly. I can't see why he got so famous unless you knew a guy. I assume other than that, it was because of his stupid creepy voice that he got roles because he's a terrible hammy actor.

This is a bad rendering of the H.P Lovecraft tale The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and funnily enough is part of Corman's Eight Poe films. Even in the credits does POE get a writing credit. Besides mention of Lovecraft's Ward and the showing of The Necronomicon along with what I assume is an Old One in the well below Ward's Palace set in Arkham, this film doesn't really reflect the apocalyptic prose of Lovecraft's great work.

The setting isn't in the 1900s like Lovecraft's work either, and I found this movie to be a terrible adaptation and utter trash. The only reason it didn't get an F was due to the lovely gothic and creepy set design.

My Grade is E.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grave Reviews #13

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Director: Tony Randel

Starring: Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman, Sean Chapman, William Hope and Doug Bradley.

A sequel to Hellraiser that was based on Clive Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart, this movie sees the return of the sadomasochistic Cenobities and the coveted Lament Configuration.

Kirsty (Laurence) wakes up at the Channard Institute, a mental hospital run by Dr Philip Channard (Cranham). There she relates in desperation the events of the last film, the crimes of her Uncle Frank (Chapman) and her mother-in-law and Frank's lover Julia (Higgins) who using the Lament Configuration summon and betray the Cenobites of Hell lead by Pinhead (Bradley). Kirsty literally makes it out with her skin intact when she hands Frank to the Cenobites who had disguised himself using the skin of Kirsty's father.

At the asylum also is Tiffany (Boorman), a girl who doesn't speak and has a penchant for solving puzzles. Channard learns of a bloody mattress that was found at Kirsty's house and she begs him to destroy it for otherwise Julia will just come back the same way as Frank did. The first night there she gets a visit from her skinless father begging for salvation from the torment of Hell.

Channard has the mattress taken to his house and sacrifices an asylum inmate to ressurect Julia so he can use her and Tiffany to glimpse Hell. Meanwhile Channard's assistant Kyle witnesses Julia's ressurection and frees Kirsty to put a stop to the madness.

Julia now wearing her own skin due to many bloody sacrifices tricks Kyle and kills him, and captures Kirsty. Channard uses Tiffany to solve the Lament Configuration, and the Cenobites appear ready to claim Tiffany, when Pinhead realises it wasn't her but Channard that ordered the box solved.

Kirsty wakes to discover Channard's house merging with the realm of Hell and runs into the Labyrinth looking for her damned father. Tiffany walks her own path through Hell to face her own personal demons and past just as Kirsty is tormented by her own. Kirsty crosses paths with Pinhead and she is powerless to use the Lament Configuration because she is already in Hell and has nothing to bargain with this time. Pinhead explains that each Hell is different, a person's own personal Hell. Pinhead suggests Kirsty explore Hell for the time being because the Cenobites have eternity to know her flesh.

Channard is led through the Labyrinth by Julia, and Kirsty begs Tiffany to help them get out of Hell since she solved the box. Julia and Channard make it to the centre of Hell to Leviathan, the God of the Cenobites and the Lord of the Labyrinth. It all becomes too much for Channard, who desires to leave. Julia reveals she was allowed to come back to Earth because Leviathan craves souls, and she will feed the doctor's to her God and forces him into the Chamber of the Engineer where he is painfully transformed into a Cenobite.

Kirsty discovers a representation of her Father's house and enters it alone, to discover to her horror it's Frank's chamber and the person that met her in her hospital room was actually Frank pretending to be her father. Kirsty torches the room burning off Frank's precious skin in the process. Julia walks in with Tiffany, and Frank attempts to seduce her once more but it betrayed and murdered by Julia because she is now above him and has set her sights on becoming the Queen of Hell. Both Kirsty and Tiffany use this moment to escape.

Channard resurrects as a Cenobite and ponders why he hesitated at the exquisite pain of it. Julia and the girls get caught up in the maelstrom of the labyrinth while escaping down a corridor, and as Tiffany tries to save Julia to Kirsty's protest, Julia's new skin is ripped from her flesh and she is hurtled screaming away from them. The girls flee once more, and suddenly find themselves back at Channard's Institute, which is Channard's own Hellish domain. They flee once again only to be cornered by Pinhead and the Cenobites where she challenges Pinhead to remember his own humanity from a photo she found of him in his pre-Hell days.

Channard appears desperate to feast on their souls and surprisingly Pinhead protects them by using his hooks to ensnare the Doctor. Channard is able to smite a few lesser Cenobites in the process and proclaims himself the new head Cenobite. Pinhead reverts back to his human form to die at the end of Channard's tentacle scalpels. Tiffany realises she has to solve the puzzle and makes her way back to the centre to Leviathan picking up a diamond form of the box along the way from Julia's discarded skin.

The box that Tiffany finds resembles Leviathan's form to the letter, and attempts to use the box's magic as a link to disable Leviathan's power but Channard turns up to spoil their plans. A bit of quick thinking on Kirsty's part gets her wearing Julia's skin to distract the Doctor long enough to change the box back to its original form neutralising the Cenobite's power and kill Channard. Leviathan begins to change shape to resemble the box, firing death rays at the escaping girls but they manage to make it back to their own realm and leave the Institute never to look back.

At the end, furniture removalists are cleaning out Channard's house and discover the bloody mattress which claims one of them as a sacrifice. His friend stares in horror as a bloody column of Cenobites and tortured souls arises from the mattress and asks the bewildered man: "What is your pleasure sir?"


In my opinion this is the best Hellraiser movie out of all eight that were made. I enjoyed the first one, and rate the fourth one but while number three was passable the other four I feel were like flogging a dead horse. Some of you may know that the first Hellraiser is up for a modern remake, apparently sans Bradley as Pinhead, and I'm at a loss as to what they can do with it except update the dated 80s SFX.

I enjoy Barker's rendition of Hell as I do his other warped works, thought I prefer his movie adaptations to his actual stories, mainly Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions. One must wonder what went on in his mind to invent such demented material but I for one enjoy the result. In a bit of trivia for those who are fans but don't know: the word Cenobite is actually a Latin form of MONK. The Cenobites are certainly Monks of Hell.

My Grade is B+

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Grave Reviews #12


Director: Daniel Haller

Starring: Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee, Ed Begley, Sam Jaffe.

Based on the story by H.P Lovecraft

This film is one of the better Lovecraftian adaptations that happened to not be filmed by Stuart Gordon, Lovecraft's unsung cinematic hero.

The movie is set in Lovecraft's fiction Massachusetts towns of Arkham and Dunwich. The film starts a few decades earlier in the Old Wheatley House in Dunwich with Lavinia Wheatley bed-ridden giving birth to twins whose father is unknown.

At Miskatonic University in Arkham, Dr Henry Armitage (Begley) had just finished his lecture on the Necronomicon and ancient Cults, and asks one of his assistants Nancy Wagner (Dee) to return the Tome to the Library. She is followed there by Wilbur Wheatley who in a charming fashion asks if he can read the book. She relents, and Wilbur sits at a table with glee to read about Yog-Sothoth and his role as gate-keeper to R'lyeh that will release the Great Old Ones from their watery prison.

Wilbur's investigations are interrupted by Armitage who demands the book back at first, and then is delighted to meet a decendant of the Wheatley family and asks him out for drinks so they can trade information. Wilbur asks to borrow the Necronomicon (the only one in existence) and Armitage refuses shaking hands and leaving. Using guile Wilbur tells Nancy he has missed his last bus back to Dunwich, tricking Nancy into driving him home.

On the way there she experiences discrimination towards Wilbur and grows more sympathetic to him. While showing her his house, he disables her car and drugs her tea to make her stay the weekend, and she decides to continue her stay in his mysterious home when her friend Elizabeth and Armitage come check up on her. They all meet Wilbur's crazy grandfather who is shocked to learn Wilbur is seeking the Necronomicon, and while staying there Nancy hears strange alien sounds coming from upstairs that Wilbur explains as the creaking of an old house from ocean winds.

Meanwhile, suspicious of the Wheatley family, Armitage discovers the Doctor responsible for delivering Wilbur, and after explaining about the Alien cult, Dr Cory professes that he didn't deliver Wilbur, it was Old Wheatley, and that Livinia gave birth to twins, one reputedly stillborn. She was damaged inside from the violent birth and later moved to Arkham Asylum.

Wilbur and Nancy spend the weekend getting to know each other, and he shows her around the town and the tour finally ends on Sentinel Hill, an old ancient altar of worship to the Old Ones. Knowing she is a virgin, Wilburs uses chants and hypnosis and rapes her, while she has crazy visions of cultists and otherworldly horrors.

Elizabeth comes back to The Wheatley House to check on Nancy, and rudely pushing past the grandfather, walks through the strange house of alien design, and entering the wrong room releases Wilbur's rumoured dead brother, who is a tentacled monstrosity. Elizabeth is quickly despatched with ravenous hunger, with Old Wheatley barely managing to trap it back in the room.

Wibur and Nancy return to the house, noticed Elizabeth's car. Old Wheatley reprimands Wilbur after he explains Nancy's friend 'went up those stairs!' and blames him for what is about to happen. Wibur is sickened by his Grandfather's weakness in letting the town get to him with shunning his cultish heritage, and trying to attack his grandson in a rage falls down the stairs and dies. Wilbur holds an unsanctioned funeral for him using the old rituals of Yog-Sothoth, and as Nancy looks on the paranoid townsfolk rock up to put a stop to the intended blasphemy burying a cultist in a Christian cemetery.

Armitage gets a phone call from Dr Cory explaining that Livinia is dying at the asylum. Meeting him there, they arrive just in time to see her pass on while muttering a strange chant that Armitage recognises from the Necromnicon and urges Dr Cory to drive back to the University with him post-haste.

Having enough of everyone's BS, Wilbur drives back to Miskatonic University with a spaced out Nancy, and in the act of stealing the Necronomicon kills a guard. He returns to Sentinel Hill with Nancy and the book and plans to sacrifice her to open the gate to release the Old Ones. Now under Wilbur's influence she begans to chant for Yog-Sothoth (Wilbur's real father) to come forth. The ritual also releases his more-alien brother from his bedroom prison killing some Christians (The Coles) that provoked Wilbur.

Wilbur declares to Nancy that she is now a Wheatley as a storm brews in the distance. Armitage discovers the dead guard and en-route to Dunwich the two men see the remains of The Coles and the growing mob mentality of the townsfolk. They arrive at the Wheatley House to find it burning down, and from across the river a gnarling alien sounds tearing towards Sentinel Hill. Armitage arrives near the end of the ritual and they initiate a magical duel, and first with Wilbur proving his dominance. Armitage repeats a chant to confuse Wilbur's mind, which causes him to be struck by lightning and fall off the cliff in a screaming ball of flame.

Nancy comes out of her magical reverie for Armitage to explain what is going on, and that the last of the Wheatleys is dead. The film ends with a shot of an alien baby growing inside Nancy at a rapid rate.


The best parts of these Lovecraft adaptations is the creepy New England Massachusetts setting made famous in his work. What I was also impressed with was the use of ritual in the film on Sentinel Hill, the director put a lot of effort to make them seem creepy, alien and authentic with regards to the Cthulhu Mythos. Roger Corman was a producer on the film, so I assume since he had a hand in adapting Poe and Lovecraft stories in the past he might have been responsible for it level of authenticity.

The acting was good for the most part, with Stockwell's Wilbur cold, charming yet sinister, and though the set decorations were sublime, the SFX of Wilbur's 'brother' left a lot to be desired, but it was the start of the 70s so these type of effects were still in their infancy, so therefore could be forgiven for they didn't really tarnish a great atmospheric film.

My Grade is B+

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Grave Reviews #11

House Of Frankenstein (1944)

Director: Erle C. Kenton

Starring: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine.

Wow. I bought this about half a year ago because it was cheap, but had put it off till now partially due to my love/hate relationship with Karloff but I was mightily impressed. This is the middle film of a trilogy between Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman and House of Dracula.

Dr. Gustav Niemann (Karloff) has spent the last 15 years in prison after his two assistants frame him to escape prisons sentences due to their graverobbing in a bid to re-enact Dr Frankenstein's creation of the Undying Monster. He manages to escape with a hunchback named Daniel, whom he promises that if he can find Dr Frankenstein's notes he will give Daniel a normal mortal body.

Now Niemann is free to exact vengeance on his former assistants and a Burgomeister named Hussmann who sent him to prison. He murders a traveling showman named Lampini and takes his place as ringleader of a Horror show that boasts to include the staked remains of Dracula (Carradine). Arriving in the Hussmann's town, his granddaughter emotionally bribes him, her husband and the town's Police Inspector to see the Horror Show, and when Hussmann almost recognises Niemann he pulls the stake from Dracula's chest to revive him, and upon pain of re-staking commands him to assist in his revenge.

Dracula seduces Hussmann's granddaughter via the magic of his crest ring, and succeeds in killing Hussmann, fleeing by coach back to his coffin in the Horror Show. Seeing Dracula persued by the local constablary, Niemann and Daniel flee, and in an effort to distract the police, toss Dracula's coffin, and his sanctuary from sunlight onto the road. Dracula rolls the coach and is too late to make it to his coffin reverting back into a skeleton as the sun's rays strike him down.

Niemann travels to the town of Castle Frankenstein where Daniel spies a gypsy show, and subsequently falls in love with a gypsy dancer named Ilonka, whom he saves from a nasty brut, and takes her along to Castle Frankenstein where in the lower depths they find the frozen remains of The Undying Monster and the Wolfman. Niemann thaws them both out with fire, and he promises Lawrence Talbot now in his human form during the day a new body so he can be free of the mark of the pentagram.

Much to Daniel's chagrin, Ilonka falls for a non-disfigured Talbot who proceeds to change at the next full moon and kills again, alerting the town to a werewolf and the Castle used once again for nefarious scientific experiments. Daniel reveals Talbot's curse to Illonka in desperation to win her love, but she spurns his lies and finally when she learns the truth vows to love and help Talbot with his curse.

Talbot now sick of Niemann's procrastinations (and figuring out he only cared for the Undying Monster all along) attacks Niemann but relents when he realises the Doctor is his only hope to be free from the curse. Talbot changes once more at night, and attacks Illonka mortally wounding her, The gypsy girl manages to discharge her gun loaded with silver bullets into his heart, and they both die in a loving embrace (vomit).

By now Daniel has had enough and attacks Niemann blaming him for all his misery. The Monster awakens during the experiment and tosses Daniel around like leaves on a windy day, and as the villagers attack to quell the evil from rising once again, the monster thinking it is saving Niemann drags him into the quicksand nearby where they both perish.

I found this movie quite enjoyable until it got to the part of Talbot and The Wolfman. I am not a fan of the original Wolfman movie with Chaney Jr as I find Talbot's character to be a whinging sook and can't really stand monsters who are big crybabies about their condition. Lucikly he didn't play a big part but was in it enough to disturb me. This is the first time I's seen Carradine play Count Dracula and I quite enjoyed his version, but when I saw the crap bat effects I couldn't help but think of Taliesin and what he thought of this particular one, it was pretty damn crappy.

The Frankenstein Monster is hardly in it, and Karloff I see gave up the role to play more human (and more evil) characters and for once I could put up with his diabolical lispiness. The Hunchback Daniel played by J. Carrol Naish was sympathic enough, but reminded me of those ugly men in real life that expect to get a girlfriend that resembles an actress from Gossip Girl. Real life ain't like that, and I know this is a movie with vampires and werewolves, but Daniel baby if you ugly and ain't got the dough, you ain't got the chance.

The sets and costume were usual Universal Horror fare, so if you've seen Legosi's Dracula you know what to expect. Crumbling castles and dinner jackets galore. Still I enjoyed this enough as I have any other Universal Horror, though most now are quite corny in their old age.

My Grade is C.

Grave Reviews #10

Requiem For A Vampire (1971)

Director: Jean Rollin

Starring: Marie-Pierre Castel, Mireille Dargent, Philippe Gasté, Louise Dhour, Dominique Toussaint.

This is my favourite Rollin film though not the first I'd seen. Lips of Blood takes that honour and coming in third is Fascination tied with Living Dead Girl.

There is something about being a Rollin fan that you just can't explain to someone that isn't. Rollin isn't that accessible because his movies are quite surreal and don't really make that much sense for the most part. But as a fan you are drawn to the Gothic EuroHorror visuals of vampires, coffins, crypts, bats and haunted chateaus along with a slew of lovely French ladies who get in way over their heads when dealing with the supernatural, as the two protagonists of this film. Of course you need to watch these films in their original French Language with subtitles to get the full atmosphere of these lovely Eurohorrors. Dubbing is the root of all evil.

Marie and Michelle have just escaped their school party (apparently, perhaps it was juvenile hall), evading the guards for a friend waiting outside with a car. They are chased for quite a while through the French Countryside exchanging gunfire (dressed as clowns no less) until their driver is mortally wounded and tells them to head for the water tower with his dying breath.

The two girls torch the car and the body, and head for the water tower to retrieve a motorcycle to continue on their way. Passing through a cemetery through a lovely montage of bats and graves (and almost 10 minutes of no dialogue) Michelle is almost buried alive, and they find their way to an abandoned chateau where they hope to spend the night. and hide from their pursuers.
Alas the chateau is not abandoned but home to a Coven of Vampires and their evil servants who serve a Vampire Master, who is dying and needs fresh blood (read: virgins) to continue his bloodline and own immortality who is assisted by two half-vampires. The two girls are tormented throughout the night until they are finally cornered, controlled by bat-like parasites summoned by the Master and given the cursed bite. Now half vampires, the girls are compelled to do the Master's and the Coven's bidding.

 After a slew of gratuitous sex-scenes between the evil cultists and prisoners in the dungeon, the girls try to escape the chateau, but they are under the Master's power now and find themselves back at the chateau's gates everytime.

The girls are told they are be initiated into the Coven of Vampirism to replenishitsr numbers as the Master is dying because he no longer gains sustenance from the dark malediction of human blood. Erica has developed her teeth and Louise is not far behind, still half-vampires but on their way to replacing their Master as head of the coven. The two girls are tasked with going out in the daylight and seducing men back to the chateau so the vampires can feed off them. A person cannot be a non-virgin and a vampire, and from what is explained you need to be a virgin to have vampirism passed onto you. (This lore was also used recently in Helsing).

The girls use their sexuality to seduce men, but Marie goes all the way with a young man named Frederic, sacrificing her virginity because she doesn't want to become one of the Damned, while Michelle does her duty and keeps her innocence. This event is where the girls seperate in loyalty to the coven as Michelle falls into the darkness of the vampire, and captures and tortures her friend for betraying her (also Marie's mate is more attractive than the dirty old man Michelle seduces). Erica kills Michelle's mate and invites her to share his blood with her.

Marie lies lies and says she saw no-one to seduce, and the girls are told by Louise that tonight they will be fully initiated into the coven. The Master figures out Marie is no longer a virgin and is mighty pissed, sending his half-vampires to catch her and discover her mate that is hiding somewhere in the Chateau. The Master traps Marie's lover in the mausoleum, but has a change of heart. He confides in Marie a secret that he is too ancient to have passed on his full vampirism to his disciples, and that Erica and Louise will never be like him. He will pass soon and is happy as he didn't ask for this curse and decides to let Marie go.

Michelle isn't as impressed or forgiving, and at gunpoint demands to know where the lover is so she can kill him, as he is a threat to the vampires. If Marie doesn't talk the half-vampires will kill them both. Michelle's heart breaks as she chains Marie up and tortures her but Marie won't relent. Erica steps in to turn up the heat and Louise lets both of them escape so they will lead them to Frederic. The girls are chased to the mausoleum of the vampire and prove to be crack shots with a pistol, only running out of bullets when Erica and Louise show up (guns don't work on them anyhow).

The Master appears and tells them enough is enough, it's all over. Erica is to spend the rest of eternity with her Master in the tomb, and Louise is to guard it to make sure it is never opened. The girls waste no time in fleeing the cemetery as Louise stands guard heartbroken at the crypt's gates.


This is the film I would recommend to someone wanting to experience Rollin for the first time. There isn't much dialogue, and what there is of it is Rollin's usual musing of poetic pathos in regards to the vampire race. Vampire Lore here is a mix of standard and unusual. The half-vampires can walk about by day, are immune to injury from common weapons though don't possess any other supernatural powers such as shapeshifting, enchanced strength or flight.

The half-vampires could be the ones who summon the bats to mind control the two girls during the day as their Master is asleep in his crypt, though we do see him use this power when the girls first meet him. We see nothing in regards to weaknesses, no holy objects, mirrors or garlic. Humans must be virgins to become vampires, and start out half-vampire and become fully fledged in some unknown capacity.

Rollin has an wonderful eye for gothic scenery and pretty women, and there is plenty of both here to assuage any vampire fans hunger. Once you've seen this make sure to see his other films I mentioned above. Then once your done, or even inbetween, make sure to watch the films of his Spanish compatriot in Eurohorror Jess Franco, director of the fantastic Vampyros Lesbos and Virgin Amongst the Living Dead.

My Grade is B.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Six new occult Tattoos (plus others)

Last Tuesday, while taking my wife to the tattoo parlour for her birthday to receive a much anticipated rose tattoo sleeve, I took the opportunity to add to my collection of occult tattoos. So without further ado here are the pictures (picture headings are clickable for more info):

From left elbow to wrist:

1. Unicursal Hexagram: Used in the Thelema tradition among others, this symbol denotes TRUE WILL.

2. Monad: The symbol stands for Azoth, and used by Dr John Dee to symbolise the goal of Alchemy, the Philosopher's stone. This symbol is a mix of symbols including Aries, the Cross, the Sun and The Moon.

3. Sulphur/Brimstone: The Leviathan Cross, A symbol for the alchemical element Sulfur, (Brimstone) which is spiritually analogous to the human soul.

4. The Seal of Babalon: (Left inside forearm) The Scarlet Woman, The Great Mother, or the Mother of Abominations—is a goddess found in the mystical system of Thelema. In her most abstract form, she represents the female sexual impulse and the liberated woman; although she can also be identified with Mother Earth, in her most fertile sense. At the same time, Crowley believed that Babalon had an earthly aspect in the form of a spiritual office, which could be filled by actual women—usually as a counterpart to his own identification as "To Mega Therion" (The Great Beast)—whose duty was then to help manifest the energies of the current Aeon of Horus. Besides my right forearm sleeve this is my favourite tattoo, I was so happy with how it turned out

5. The Seal of Astaroth: Aka Astarte, In demonology Astaroth (also Ashtaroth, Astarot, and Asteroth) is a Prince of Hell. He is a male figure named after the female Canaanite goddess Ashtoreth. He is referred to in The Lesser Key of Solomon as a very powerful demon. In art, in the Dictionnaire Infernal, Astaroth is depicted as a nude man with feathered wings, wearing a crown, holding a serpent in one hand, and riding a beast with dragon-like wings and a sepent-like tail.

This tattoo is on the inside of my left bicep, and I love its lines and how it turned out. Astaroth was an important figure in my early occult years, hence the tattoo in his honour.

6. Witch's Knot: Finally found a symbol to go in the middle of my right bicep to complete the Celtic armband I got over 10 years ago.

The Witch’s knot is a common symbol in folk magic. The witch’s knot is a symbolic representation of the knot magic practiced by witches in the middle ages, and was used as a sympathetic charm against witchcraft, and usually scratched over doorways of homes and stables. One aspect of its efficacy as a protective charm lay in the ability to draw the complicated symbol in one continuous motion.

While the symbol appears to be made up of intertwined vesica pisces, it does not represent “feminine powers” as is sometimes claimed, but the inversion of those powers- the four radiating half circles symbolically reflect malefic winds. Ironically, this is a popular emblem of choice for modern witches.

This is my Ode to Lovecraft (right forearm sleeve) which also includes the earlier tattoo of The Eye of Horus. I designed this tattoo myself with EIGHT tentacles bursting out of my body with three Cthuloid eyes growing out as well, symbolising a Deep One/Innsmouth Look feel. One day I plan to finish it, perhaps my tattooing sinew to fill in the flesh for a more alien look.

I was so happy with the way this turned out and I get complimented on it often, especially by most of the populace who don't know who Lovecraft is. I'm hoping someday to get some of Lovecraft's Gods on my body somewhere, either the Great Cthulhu himself, or perhaps Nyarlathotep whom I am fond of, and works in with the eye of Horus I have tattoed on the same arm.

Inverted Pentagram: (Upper back) This is my Ode to my favourite movie, The Ninth Gate. This symbol appears on the front of the demonic text coveted in the movie The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, a book reputed to summon The Prince of Darkness in person. Those who have read the book it's based on The Dumas Club or seen and understand the movie realise that in this Lucifer appears as a female who aid's Johnny Depp's character Dean Corso on his quest through the Nine Gates represented by tarot-like engravings in the book. I own a replica of this book and it's one of my favourite possessions.

Here is a copy of The Nine Gates. The Ninth engraving is a picture of a woman riding a hydra, which represents Babalon (The Scarlet Woman) riding The Beast (Therion), which links to my Seal of Babalon tattoo. The Ninth Engraving is also something I am to tattoo on myself in the near future, I just have to decide where.