Thursday, August 19, 2010

Like a Virgin, Haunted for the Very First Time

A Virgin Among the Living Dead

Dir. Jesus Franco

Title 15, Chapter 2, Subchapter 1, Section 52 of the U.S. Code expressly prohibits businesses from engaging in deceptive or false advertising. Though I think the statute of limitations is probably a little long in the tooth to be throwing the book at Jesus Franco for French stinker A Virgin Among the Living Dead (aka Christine, Princess of Eroticism), which, title aside, features nary a zombie (and just as little eroticism). A few restrained hints of possible lesbian vampirism and one thoroughly useless ghost are the closest you’re going to come to “living dead” in this 75 minute assault on your higher thinking functions.
Hell, given our babbling protagonist’s hobbies include sleeping nude, skinny dipping and parading around in front of strangers in her sheer panties, I’m just gonna go ahead and call bullshit on that “virgin” thing as well. Aspersions aside, Christine, the titular virgin, is a naïf just blown into some rundown French town to hear the reading of the will of a father she never knew. Showing up the family chateau, which every villager assures her has been vacant for generations, Christine stumbles wide-eyed (and usually nude) through encounters with the various, irritating denizens of the house who act less like the Addamses and more like John Waters rejects. Weird Uncle Howard just bangs away at the organ, blind Linda compulsively paints crosses in blood and offers cryptic warnings while the family’s mute manservant just leers around pervertedly. How does Christina react? She just nods and smiles at every violations of mores that any other rational person would take as signs to move into the nearest Motel 6. Things get creepy, dead animals get placed in her bed and the family eventually tries to get all Rosemary’s Baby on Christina. It’s painfully by the numbers and horrifically zombie-free.

Zombology: Not a goddamned thing. Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. The zombie is a lie. While Christine wanders aimlessly on a scene of lesbian vampirism (which she seems to just disregard the next time she runs across the participants) and her ghostly, blood dribbling father makes an ineffectual stab and warning her off, there is no “living dead” to be had. Zippo.

Like a lot of Jesus Franco films, A Virgin Among the Living Dead features startlingly amateur cinematography at times – particularly during the halting zooms and pull backs – mixed with tableaux that suggest Franco may have had a glimmer of talent in his otherwise hackish repertoire. But more importantly, NO FUCKING ZOMBIES.
This suckfest proudly earned its perfect score on the Hell of the Living Dead scale of hellacious awfulness.

No comments:

Post a Comment