• Iron Rose



    Released by: Kino Lorber/Redemption
    Released on: January 24, 2012.
    Director: Jean Rollin
    Cast: 1973
    Year: Francoise Pascal, Hugues Quaster
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    The Movie:

    Prior to Iron Rose, the majority of Jean Rollin films I’d seen were all of the gothic, vampiric nature. Even the ones that weren’t gothic or about vampires still seemed to be both. It’s a style that Rollin does and does well and he has a huge following because of this. They’re beautifully shot with beautiful people, but often one blends into the next and into the next. I expected pretty much the same of Iron Rose on this, my first viewing. I may not be part of the target demographic for most of Rollin’s films but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them all the same. Iron Rose, quite different from most of the films of his I’ve seen, has a refreshingly and surprisingly different plotline than many of other films. It’s a breath of fresh air within his body of work, still possessing the eerie feel that makes his films great.

    Iron Rose begins with a woman walking along an abandoned beach (sound familiar?). She finds a rose made of iron along the shoreline and is enamored with it. The scene switches to a dinner party with our female from the beach catching the eye of one of the gentleman guests. The two leave the party and decide to meet the next day at the train tracks to go for a bike ride together. After a romantic romp around and throughout the abandoned trains, they ride off together. Deciding they'll take a picnic rest right outside an old cemetery, our male (fyi… no names have been mentioned thus far) convinces our female to go check things out amongst the dead.

    It’s near dusk and getting dark pretty quickly so aside from one or two spooky visitors, our couple is alone. We see an old woman dressed all in black, a disheveled man in what appears to be a teddy bear costume pass by, as well as another man in a black cape. Certainly the most bizarre of all though is a sad clown paying his respects to a cemetery resident. Oddly enough though, for the most part, these characters only make one appearance and add only to the ambience and not the actual story. The atmosphere is thick and authentic and easily sucks you in and makes you feel like you’re a part of it. At first, as to be expected, our female is thoroughly uncomfortable in her whereabouts, but half-heartedly agrees to climb down into an unlocked crypt to fool around. After all, our male is so charming, right? Actually he’s pretty much a jerk which she’s soon to find out when the two emerge from the crypt to complete darkness. The rest of the film is spent trying to get out of the cemetery, a lot of yelling and various moments when our female seems to be feeling the influences of the dead.

    Throughout Iron Rose, I was going back and forth in my mind trying to decide if I really liked the film or if I thought it was a bit too long. It’s not long, at only eighty minutes, but it still felt like it dragged a bit. The atmosphere made up for that a bit because everything looked so creepy and it was just something you wanted to like based on that. The characters were effective even if not likeable, but I was left wondering, at the end, what the significance of the man in the teddy bear outfit, the sad clown and the dude in the cloak was. To simply add to the weirdness, I guess, and it worked. I think this is one of those films I may enjoy more after multiple viewings.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Like I said, what makes Rollin’s stuff great is the chillingly real locations, often old cemeteries, churches, castles, etc. and Iron Rose, taking place almost completely in a cemetery, is obviously a perfect example of this. Such authenticity would never be achieved in today’s computer-generated world. Iron Rose is an enjoyable piece of work and considering there was no need for fancy special effects, it still looks good forty years later. Redemption’s Region A Blu-ray release of Iron Rose looks great in AVC encoded 1.66.1 widescreen and in 1080p high definition and, despite the dark locations, looks clear and crisp. The blacks look great and the occasional splashes of color are appropriate and bright.

    This release of Iron Rose contains LPCM Mono English and French audio options and English subtitles. Sound on this disc is clear with no noticeable distortion. Levels seem balanced throughout, with lower background night sounds and the loud yelling between our two main characters each sounding equally good.

    Extras on this disc include-

    • A brief, two minute, introduction by the late Jean Rollin is included discussing the intent of the film and the comparisons between this and Requiem For a Vampire.
    • A humorous twenty-two minute interview with our lady star, Francoise Pascal, in which she discusses filming, her interactions with Rollin, what she wanted to bring to her role in this story and her dislike of her co-star. It’s nice to see how much she remembers fondly from the making of Iron Rose and how much her character meant to her.
    • An eight minute interview with Rollin favorite, Natalie Perrey. Obviously a dedicated friend and collaborator, she recalls memories from the making of Iron Rose as well as other Rollin works.
    • Four trailers for Iron Rose, and trailers for The Shiver of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire, Lips of Blood and Fascination, all of which have been released on blu-ray in conjunction with Iron Rose.
    • An informative, eighteen-page, glossy full color booklet with an essay by Tim Lucas covering the films of Jean Rollin with a focus on the five that are being released on blu-ray. Also included is a page on Rollin, by Nigel Wingrove.

    Overall:

    Not my favorite of Rollin’s catalogue, but definitely an important film for him. This could easily be a crossover film for him and potentially gain him a wider audience than some of his other, sexier films have brought him (there are plenty of those fans already!). Always good to see a director work a bit more out-of-the-box and create a respectable and noteworthy piece of cinema. Looking forward to checking out Kino’s other Rollin blu-rays!


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





























    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Goldberg's Avatar
      Goldberg -
      So which of the Rollin BluRays would you recommend to get first-cab-off-the-rank? I'm thinking 'fascination'?
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I've only seen Fascination and Shiver of the Vampires so far, and I would say of the two, Shiver is a great one to start with. I saw Fascination first and I kind of wish it was the other way around.
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Fascination has always been my favorite, Aaron.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      You really can't lose with either. And hey Alison...thanks for sending that one my way. I really dug Brigitte as a grim reaper.