• The Blood Rose (Mondo Macabro) DVD Review



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: August 28th, 2007.
    Director: Claude Mulot
    Cast: Claude Mulot, Edgar Oppenheimer, Jean Carriaga
    Year: 1970
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    The Blood Rose – Movie Review:

    Frédéric Lansac (Philippe Lemaire of Spirits Of The Dead) is a wealthy artist who lives with his wife, Anne (Anny Duperey of Umberto Lenzi’s From Hell To Victory), in a castle. When she falls into a fire during a party one night, Lansac snaps and soon he blackmails Professor Römer (Jess Franco regular Howard Vernon), a plastic surgeon who has recently lost his medical license due to some rather unorthodox dealings, into helping him abduct some of the local lovelies in the area. His motive? He plans to have Römer use the flesh of these poor girls to reconstruct what’s left of Anne so that she can once again be the looker that he fell in love with in the first place. Of course, as anyone who has seen Eyes Without A Face knows, these types of schemes rarely go off without a hitch…

    Very obviously influenced by Franju’s masterpiece, The Blood Rose has enough going for it on its own merits that it turns out to be a surprisingly good movie – so good, in fact, that it’s curious why the film isn’t more celebrated in cult movie circles than it is. While the premise may be more than a little derivative, the outcome is certainly unique enough and the movie is stylish, weird and intriguing from start to finish. Director Claude Mulot is better known in adult film circles as Frédéric Lansac, the man who directed Kinky Ladies Of Bourbon Street and Pussy Talk! It’s no coincidence that the lead character’s name is the same as Mulot’s adult film alias. Regardless, the film moves along at a very good pace but still manages to flesh out Lansac’s character enough to work.

    Plenty of strange touches make the film stand out, starting with Vernon’s performance as the twisted surgeon. It’s interesting to see Vernon here, as his part isn’t that far removed from Jess Franco’s The Awful Dr. Orloff, another film which likely influenced Mulot’s picture. While he doesn’t quite go over the top he’s definitely got some very inspired moments here and the scenes where he and Lemaire go after some of the local buxom beauties are stand out moments in the film. Add to that the addition of a pair of midget servants who answer to Lansac’s beck and call and a stable of pretty Euro-babes and you’ve got yourself a pretty slick little picture.

    Mulot makes the interesting choice of telling large portions of the story from Anne’s point of view. This allows for some creative cinematography (courtesy of Roger Fellous who also worked on quite a few of Mulot’s adult features) once she’s burnt, allowing us to see what she sees and how she would see it. The French locations add some interesting and classy gothic atmosphere and the bold use of primary colors and deep, rich red hues adds a strange vibe to the movie. Further complimenting the thick tone of the film is the score from Jean-Pierre Dorsay uses instrumental bits and choral arrangements to punctuate the creepier and more bizarre moments.

    The Blood Rose – DVD Review:

    The Blood Rose arrives on DVD in a very pleasing 1.66.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer (taken from the original negative, no less) that certainly looks like the proper aspect for the film. There’s a bit of grain present in some scenes but aside from that the image is very clean with great color reproduction and very little to complain about in terms of digital artifacting or edge enhancement. Skin tones look nice and fleshy and there’s plenty of foreground and background detail to notice. By the standards of a 2007 DVD this looks good (though the movie has seen been released on 4k UHD, which obviously looks better).

    Audio options are provided in French or English, both tracks in Dolby Digital Mono, with optional English subtitles. The French track is preferable as the English dubbing isn’t handled particularly well but both tracks sound quite good. Dialogue is easy to follow, the score sounds good and there aren’t any problems with audible hiss or distortion of any kind.

    The main supplement on this release is a twenty-three minute on camera video interview with Didier Philippe-Gerard, the director’s brother in law who helped write the film and who went on to star in numerous French adult movies of the era. Gerard talks about his work with Mulot and about the ins and outs (pun intended) of the era of moviemaking in France that he was proud to have been a part of.

    Rounding out the extra features is a nice still gallery of promotional materials, a text essay about the history of the film from Pete Tombs, text biographies for Claude Mulot, Philippe Lemaire, Anny Duperey and Elizabeth Teissier and of course, the newly extended and omnipresent Mondo Macabro promo reel. Animated menus and chapter stops are also included on the DVD.

    The Blood Rose – The Final Word:

    Mondo Macabro once again rescues a genuine cinematic oddity from obscurity. The Blood Rose has been hard to find until now, and one can only assume that this wonderfully restored presentation will allow the film to find a larger audience among Euro-Cult buffs. Naked ladies, sex, blood, Howard Vernon and pint sized bad guys – this one really does have it all!