• Dracula's Fiancée / Lost in New York (Redemption) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Redemption Films
    Released on: February 19th, 2019.
    Director: Jean Rollin
    Cast: Brigitte Lahaie, Cyrille Iste, Thomas Smith, Magalie Aguado, Jacques Régis, Thomas Desfossé
    Year: 2002/1989
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    Dracula’s Fiancée / Lost In New York – Movie Review:

    Redemptions offers up two of Jean Rollin’s lesser efforts on a double feature Blu-ray.

    Dracula’s Fiancée:

    One of the late Jean Rollin’s final films, 2002’s Dracula’s Fiancée (alternately known as both La fiancée de Dracula and Fiancée of Dracula) opens in a cemetery where a professor knowledgeable in the ways of vampirism tutor’s professor (French adult filmmaker Jacques Régis) young Eric (Denis Tallaron) in how best to deal with the undead. Thibault (Smith). When they come across a dwarf named Triboulet (Thomas Smith of Mask Of The Medusa) the coerce him into divulging the details of his master’s whereabouts by threatening to expose a vampire he is in love with (Sandrine Thoquet of Two Orphan Vampires) to deadly sunlight. While Thibault doesn’t give them exactly what they’re looking for, he does tell them that a mad woman (Magalie Madison) who lives nearby might be able to give them more information. She, in turn, tells them that the only one who can alert them to the master’s whereabouts is the so-called Queen of Shadows.

    This eventually leads them to Paris and an orphan named Isabelle (Cyrille Iste of The Escapees) who is cared for by the Mother Superior (Marie-Laurence of Two Orphan Vampires) of a strange order of nuns. Isabelle, seemingly insane, seems to be connected to Count Dracula (Thomas Desfossé) and by being in close contact with some of the nuns, she’s driven many of them insane. The Professor figures Isabelle just might be able to lead them to the Count, but things get complicated when some wizards (Bernard Musson and Natalie Perrey, the later instantly recognizable from Lips Of Blood) show up and Brigitte Lahaie (of Fascination) rides around on a horse!

    A very obvious throwback to Rollin’s seventies vampire movie heyday, Dracula’s Fiancée sees the director playing in incredibly familiar territory. The beach with the white cliffs, the ever-familiar grandfather clock, vampires, beautiful women, a borderline surrealist atmosphere, quite a few faces recognizable from his earlier pictures and, of course, a cemetery all serve to bind this picture with many of his earlier, and better known, genre entries. And while this doesn’t quite work as well as those earlier films, for a picture made in 2002 on a modest budget, it comes close enough to matter.

    Like a lot of Rollin’s films, the story was clearly influenced by old pulp books and serials and, as was sometimes the case, the acting and coherence of the storytelling comes second to the visuals. Seasoned fans of his output will have come to expect that, but the tone might throw off those coming to his filmography for the first time with this entry. Still, Rollin gets a lot right. The visuals are often times very impressive and there’s some great imagery here. Yes, the low budget is obvious and at times hard to ignore but there’s a very creative spirit on display here and you get the impression that the director, who had dealt with some health issues by this point in his career, was having a really good time playing in his favorite sandbox.

    Lost In New York:

    The second feature, which lies somewhere between a feature and a short film given its running time, follows Michèle (Natalie Perrey) as she journeys through her memories and recalls meeting a girl named Marie in a churchyard where the pair explores a storybook and, through some sort of magic, are able to live out some of the adventures that they read about. Eventually, as slightly older teens (give or take), they wind up in New York City separated from one another. Here they go on different little ‘mini-escapades,’ eventually winding up at Coney Island!

    It’s an odd and whimsical sort of production that is part travelogue and part… something else. It doesn’t always make perfect sense but it’s interesting to watch and it’s great to see Natalie Perrey show up here as well. It isn’t likely to be one of those films that you go back to time and again but it is worth seeing once or twice for fans of the director’s work and the footage of New York, shot circa 1989, is also interesting in a time capsule sort of way.

    Dracula’s Fiancée / Lost In New York – Blu-ray Review:

    Dracula’s Fiancée is framed at 1.66.1 widescreen and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition in a transfer that is a vast improvement over the lousy PAL converted Shriek Show DVD. The smeary trailing is gone, thankfully, and colors look much better as do black levels. There’s a lot more detail and depth to the picture as well. It’s a grainy looking film and that’s carried over here but overall, things look quite good. Lost In New York is also framed at 1.66.1 and presented in AVC encoded 1080p. It doesn’t look quite as nice, it’s a rougher looking production and the opening credits look to be upscaled, but it’s definitely more than watchable with decent colors and very little noticeable print damage.

    The audio for both films is presented in LPCM 2.0 format. in the original French language with optional subtitles provided in English only. Fiancée is in stereo and it sounds pretty decent. No problems with the levels, no hiss or distortion to note. Lost is in mono and has a bit of hiss here and there but nothing so distracting that it’s likely to take you out of the movie.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary with Samm Deighan, editor of Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin, for Dracula’s Fiancée. As you’d expect, given her involvement with the book project, Deighan knows what she’s talking about and does a fine job dissecting Rollin’s film. She explores the themes that tend to recur throughout his work as well as the significance of certain locations, details of the performances, the history of the production and quite a bit more.

    Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    Dracula’s Fiancée / Lost In New York – The Final Word:

    Redemption’s Blu-ray release of Jean Rollin’s Dracula’s Fiancée / Lost In New York presents two of Rollin’s lesser but still worthwhile efforts on a nice-looking double feature Blu-ray. The presentations here are quite good and the commentary adds some value. If this isn’t the best starting point for those new to his films, it’s easily recommended for fans of the director’s output.

    Click on the images below for full sized Dracula’s Fiancée / Lost In New York Blu-ray screen caps!