A real gore hound
Help is on the way for our little unfortunates. Dr. Dennary, a leading eye specialist, has taken an interest in their case. He takes the rather extreme step of adopting them so he can study their condition further in the hope of restoring their eyesight. An exceptional aspect of this Jean Rollin film is that their new father's interest in the nubile orphans does seem to be entirely innocent. The erotic is kept to a minimum here, though it's always implicit in the director's fetishistic employment of a pair of heroines. Rollin felt he was toning it down himself, feeling consicous of the girls' ages, but the cast and crew took it upon themselves to tone it down further, pressuring him to cut a scene that would have shown the girls nude in a bathtub.
One thing Wendigo recognized in common with the other Rollins he's seen is the director's consistent eye for evocative locations. The orphanage is a typically impressive setting, as are the various cemeteries Rollin films in. For budget reasons or otherwise, he shoots many scenes day-for-night, including that odd bit on the Brooklyn Bridge where a painter is trying to work in the middle of the night. Strange to say, Rollin's attempt to tone down the sex element made the few topless scenes look only more gratuitous to Wendigo. The girls' natural charm aside, he thought this effort had all the eroticism of a rotten cabbage. He thinks Rollin should have kept the bathtub scene if only to establish a habit of nudity for the girls. As for the script, we listened to the English dub, so we don't know if the French dialogue is as erratic. In the dub, the girls at one point claim to be Inca goddesses but insist on their Aztec pedigree in every other scene. We also couldn't judge the actresses' natural voices until they did their interviews, at which point they came across as complete bubbleheads.
Wendigo feels obliged to give Two Orphan Vampires a thumbs down, in part because it was too transparently a statement by Jean Rollin rather than a strong story or a compelling set of images. This one is a little too choppy and a little too sloppy to work on all the levels Rollin wanted. Wendigo accepts that this was a very personal project for Rollin, but suspects that the author-director may have been too uncritically close to his material this time. He respects the man's viewpoint, but there has to be something more than viewpoint in a film, and that wasn't quite there this time. But Wendigo will be giving Rollin another try soon, if only because Fiancee of Dracula was in the same box set I got for $9.99 at the local FYE store. Stay tuned.
Don't blink or you'll miss this abrupt excuse for a trailer, uploaded to YouTube by gotohelltown.