Review: The Shiver of the Vampires (Blu-ray)

Kino & Redemption's second title under their "Cinema of Jean Rollin" banner, The Shiver of the Vampires, gets it's Blu-ray debut!

  • Director: Jean Rollin
  • Starring: Sandra Julien, Jean Marie Durand
  • Year: 1971
  • Runtime: 95 Minutes
  • Company: Kino / Redemption
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1 - 50GB
  • Video: 1.64:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English 7 French LPCM 2.0
  • Region: A
  • Released: 1/24/2012

Soon to be married Isle (Sandra Julien) & Antonio (Jean Marie Durand) are Italy bound for their honeymoon but make a quick detour to a sleepy, secluded town to visit Isle's long unseen cousins at the chateau they spent their childhood together. Upon arrival, they are informed by a mourning woman that the cousins had died the night before, leading them to stay the night at the castle to pay their respects. Once inside Isle & Antonio become wrapped up in the estates secrets which involve a grandfather clock vampiress, scantily clad servants and a room full of falling books. Welcome to the beautiful nightmare that is The Shiver of the Vampires.
Shiver of the Vampires (Le Frisson des Vampires) is a completely left-field but highly entertaining outing from Jean Rollin. SotV is my second taste (after The Nude Vampire) of Rollin's work so I knew what to expect from the mad French master: nudity, gel lighting and heaps of atmosphere. All of that is included here but amplified to the umpteenth degree. SotV is much more interested in tone and Rollin plays with expectations like a harp from hell. What starts out as an atmospheric arthouse romance begins to warp into a gothic comedy that delves into the mythos of vampires.
Rollin's love of the macabre & fantastique is fully displayed throughout the various locations. From the fog drenched cemetery to the sprawling, color spectrum lit castle that without a doubt inspired Dario Argento's fond usage of it. Shiver of the Vampires is definitely Rollin's most psychedelic (so far, my journey through his oeuvre has just begun) as the imagery & even the foot thumping rock soundtrack are wonderfully trippy. If you're looking for a midnight cinematic snack filled that's will lead to nightmares filled with lesbian vampires doused in psychotronic lighting, look no further than The Shiver of the Vampires.

  •  Video
Kino & Redemption bring The Shiver of the Vampires to Blu-ray for the first time, with a 1080p, 1.64:1 framed transfer. The transfer of The Nude Vampire was a positive indication on how future releases would look, so it's no surprise that Shiver of the Vampires picture quality is eye pleasing and completely void of any digital comeuppance. Colors are strikingly vibrant and the films gothic settings offer numerous instances of fine detail that can now be admired thanks to the HD upgrade. There is a bit of minimal print damage in some scenes and specks and pops throughout, if you're a true fan you'll love the vibe that gives off and I'm glad they are present. Once again this is a gorgeous transfer from Kino/Redemption.
  •  Audio
An English & French LPCM 2.0 mixes are included on this disc. I chose the French mix for my first viewing which offers crystal clear dialogue with some minor hissing throughout and the radically groovy rock soundtrack is well balanced and sounds better than ever.

Bonus Features
  • Introduction - Jean Rollin
  • Interview - Jean Rollin
This whopping 45 minute interview with Rollin covers his career in depth, offering a great deal of insight & information from the man himself. If you're a die hard lover of all & everything Rollin, this is for you.
  • Booklet
A 20 page booklet is included from Video Watchdog editor and cinemaphile Tim Lucas offers a smorgasbord of information about Jean Rollin's filmography and his legacy. Lucas's knowledge of foreign cinema is vast, informative and appreciative which makes this a highly valuable extra. This booklet is included with all currently available Jean Rolling titles from Kino, which might be seen as a letdown but the wealth of info on Rollin's filmography will have you re-reading it each time you crack open the case. Also included is a short excerpt from Redemption founder Nigel Wingrove gushing his love for Rollin and his wish that the late director could have seen these releases before he passed.
  • Trailers
Original trailers for Jean Rollin's films are included in their native French language, such as The Nude Vampire, Shiver of the Vampire, Fascination, The Iron Rose and Lips of Blood. Also included is an English trailer of Shiver of the Vampire.