La frisson des vampires
©1970 Les filmes modernes/Les filmes ABC


Genre: Horror

Rating: R

Also known as:
Sex and the Vampire
The Shiver of the Vampires
Strange Things Happen at Night
Terror of the Vampires
Thrill of the Vampires
Vampire Thrills

Two newlyweds, Isle (Sandra Julien) and Antoine (Jean-Marie Durand), stop on their honeymoon to visit Isle's cousins (Jacques Robiolles and Michael Delahaye), only to be told that they've recently died. Still, two servant girls (Marie-Pierre Castel and Kuelan Herce) make Isle and Antoine welcome in her cousin's castle. Shaken by the news of her cousins' deaths, Isle chooses to sleep alone that night but the vampire Isolde (Dominique) appears and mesmerizes Isle, taking her to the cemetery. At the cemetery, Isolde and the two servants perform an erotic ritual on Isle. Later, Antoine witnesses the servants and Isle's 'dead' cousins in the castle dungeon, driving a stake through a woman's heart so she won't be cursed with their malediction. The next day, Antoine and Isle are told that Isle's cousins are still alive and working in the library. However, when Antoine goes to investigate, he is attacked by flying books and, while he lies unconscious, the servants mesmerize Isle again to make her drink some of their blood. When Isle's cousins finally appear, they explain how they've been studying death and researching their family's roots. Antoine is skeptical but Isle appears fascinated. That night, Isle again chooses to sleep alone and, again, Isolde appears, mesmerizing, seducing and biting Isle. Meanwhile, in the dungeon, the two servant girls are chained and tortured by Isle's cousins. Later, Antoine sees Isolde and Isle's cousins in the dungeon, performing some kind of initiation on Isle. Antoine interrupts the ceremony and urges Isle to leave the castle but she refuses, cruelly reminding him that he's not her husband yet because they haven't consummated the marriage. The next day, Isle finds the daylight painful and continues to be cruel to Antoine. Taking a dead dove to her coffin, Isle wakes Isolde prematurely and Isolde explains that if Isle opens her coffin, she will die and Isle will be left to bear the weight of mortality. However, if Isle spares Isolde, she will become like her and gain her privileges. Isle spares Isolde. Later that day, Antoine tries to leave the castle but finds that the car has been sabotaged. That night, Antoine sees Isle's cousins drinking blood and realizes that they're vampires but when he confronts them with a crucifix, Isle betrays him and he's captured. Isolde and the cousins take Isle away to receive their final bite but Antoine convinces the servant girls to free him. He goes to the cemetery and grabs Isle, running away with Isle's cousins hot on his tail. Moments later, the sun begins to rise and Isolde tries to return to her coffin but finds that the servants have set it on fire. Meanwhile, Antoine discovers that he's too late to save Isle, as she and her cousins whither and decay beneath the rays of the rising sun.

Type of mind control: Vampiric Stare

Mind control scenes:
The mind control begins when Isolde emerges from a grandfather clock in Isle's bedroom and mesmerizes her, leading her to the cemetery where she and the servants perform their ritual. The next day, the servants seem to mesmerize Isle and make her drink their blood but I'm not sure how this is possible since they're not vampires. Perhaps they use an aftereffect of Isolde's previous control. That night, Isolde appears above Isle's bed and mesmerizes her again, before biting her.

Subjective Rating: 5 out of 5
This movie is disjointed and confusing, concentrating more on imagery and cinematography than story presentation, but the mind control scenes are excellent, especially for a vampire movie. Isolde's control of Isle seems to be made up of one part mesmerism and one part seduction. Unlike most movie vampires that resort to the hokey 'look into my eyes' gimmick to take control of their victims, Isolde seems to use her supernatural beauty and sex appeal to entice Isle into surrendering control. Dominique does an excellent job of making Isolde dark and sensual (like a good vampire should be), while Sandra Julien convincingly conveys that Isle is being controlled, without appearing too stiff or zombie-like. You may have to watch this movie more than once to figure out exactly what's going on but the mind control scenes, although limited, are definitely worth watching again and again.

Back to Horror