An appreciation by Bob Ignizio
French director Jean Rollin is best known for making erotic vampire movies brimming with haunting, often surreal visuals and oozing with atmosphere, but which don't offer much much in the way of story. LIPS OF BLOOD is a rare exception in that there is a coherent plot centered around the character of Frederic (Jean-Loup Philippe), a young man who has little memory of his childhood. He can only recall something about staying the night at a castle with a pretty red haired girl (Annie Briand), a memory Frederic’s mother (Nathalie Perrey) has convinced him is only a dream. Then Frederic sees an advertisement that uses the castle from his “dream”, and realizes the place really exists. To learn the truth about his past, Frederic must embark on a dangerous quest that will leave him a changed man.
This being a Jean Rollin film, it should come as no surprise that Frederic’s quest involves sexy female vampires in various states of undress, strangely beautiful imagery like a coffin used as a boat, and an underlying theme of the youth/counter culture (represented by the vampires) being persecuted by the ignorant forces of authority. The thematic and visual elements still rule the day, but with a more traditional narrative structure than most of Rollin’s films this is a more accessible movie than works like THE NUDE VAMPIRE or REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE. As such, it makes a good entry point for those unfamiliar with Rollin’s work, as well as being a high point in the director’s career.