Catherine Valmont is dead and minding her own business as the story begins, but her repose is disturbed by shady types using her family crypt as a dump for toxic waste. They've been dumping barrels for a while, but on this auspicious day the dumpster decide to get into the grave robbing business. No sooner has one of them cracked open Catherine's coffin and declared the but-recently deceased young woman beautiful than an earth tremor strikes, causing some barrels to burst open and disturbing some bats. The ghouls' driver up on the surface doesn't notice, however. One barrel leaks some liquid glop that burns one man's face, while fumes from another have the magical effect of reviving poor Catherine. Did these fumes transmit the angry spirit of Moe Howard? We never learn the truth, but somehow her first impulse is to poke her visitor's eyes out with her Press-On Nails of Death.
Wendigo suggests that Helene may be overcompensating for her apparent failure to be there during Catherine's fatal illness, or to attend her funeral. He speculates that they had actually drifted apart some time before, and that Helene began feeling remorse after the fact. How close were they? We know enough of Rollin's career to find it significant that this film never has a lesbian love scene between Helene and Catherine, either in flashback or in the present. Wendigo thinks it possible that they were lovers in the past, but he doesn't think it decisive one way or the other. Most likely, this being a Rollin film, if he wanted us to think they were lovers he would have showed a love scene. On the other hand, it may have been a deliberate withholding of what we expect from him to build up anticipation for the profoundly different sort of consummation that comes at the end of the film.
Like Fascination, this is a great looking film with an ideal found set, though Rolln finds enough new angles to make you almost forget that we've been here before. As the leads, Francoise Blanchard (Catherine) and Marina Pierro (Helene) are easy on the eye and easy to accept in their roles. They have to act more with their emotions than with their bodies and do a good job. The other actors are mostly good, though those playing the American couple are a little over the top.
Anti-American violence in La Morte Vivante: an unconvincing stand-in takes fire for Carina Barone, while Mike Marshall discovers the treachery of those freedom-hating frogs.
It's not exactly damning a film to say it's not as good as Fascination, of course. In fact, Wendigo found this a very good film with an impressively different approach to the vampire concept. Jean Rollin is now 2 for 2 in his book, and there are many more vampire films, and others, yet to be seen.
The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by impossiblefunky: