A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973)

aka Christina, princesse de l’erotisme, Among the Living Dead
Article 2368 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-19-2007
Posting Date: 2-5-2008
Directed by Jesus Franco, Jean Rollin, and Pierre Querut
Featuring Christina von Blanc, Britt Nichols, Rosa Palomar

A woman who has been separated from her family ever since she was a child visits them for the reading of her father’s will. However, she finds the family exceedingly strange and dreams she is being attacked by zombies.

I wavered back and forth on this one quite a bit while I was watching it, but I’ve decided that finally that it’s one of the better Jess Franco movies I’ve seen. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review and checked on IMDB that I found out that the movie was also directed by Jean Rollin. At first, I thought that this went a long way towards explaining why I found some of the dream sequences of this movie quite compelling, especially one where the heroine follows the hanged body of her father through the forest; however, this was also Franco’s work, as all Rollin did was add some poor zombie footage for a re-release of the movie. There are also other moments that caught my attention; the translation and dubbing of this movie is better than usual for a Franco movie, and there are moments where the dialogue achieves real lyricism. There’s also a great sequence in which the lawyer reads the will of the father. The movie also actually tries to be scary on occasion, and this isn’t always something that happens in a Franco horror movie. These pluses compensate somewhat for some of Franco’s more annoying habits; I’ve never liked those scenes where the camera jumps from one person to another and then zooms in or pulls away while the plot goes nowhere. I also found the lack of character continuity to be bothersome, though the end of the movie explains this somewhat. Nevertheless, I think the movie somewhat achieves its balance of horror movie and art film, and it is one of those films of his that I’d be willing to watch again. It’s times like these where I realize that Franco has real talent; if he were more consistent about it, I’d like his movies better in general. As it is, I consider this one one of his high points.

Special thanks to doctor kiss for explaining the nature of Jean Rollin’s contribution to the movie.


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