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(aka "La rose écorchée" or "Ravaged" or "The Scorched Rose" or "The Flayed Rose" )

 

directed by Claude Mulot
France 1970

 

THE BLOOD ROSE tells the story of artist Frederic Lansac (Philippe Lemaire, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR) who throws over his mistress Moira (Elizabeth Tessier, FRUSTRATION) for the beautiful and innocent Anne (Anny Duperey, STAVISKY). More upset at Lansac skipping her party where she plans to show him off, Moira dressed as a fairy tale evil queen shows up uninvited to Anne and Frederic's wedding party and causes Anne to fall into a raging bonfire disfiguring her. Anne has her death announced and shuts herself up in Lansac's castle. Lansac hires pretty nurse Agnes to take care of Anne while he runs his business in the city (a beauty institute that uses poisonous hybrid plants for skin treatments). Lansac makes the acquaintance of professor Romer (Howard Vernon of AWFUL DR. ORLOFF, who dubs himself on the English track) who takes care of the plants by day and surgically transforms the faces of criminals by night. Lansac blackmails the professor into trying to restore his wife's face using living transplants. Jealous of Agnes' beauty, Anne kills the nurse with one of the poisonous plants. Her disappearance prompts the interest of her sister Barbara who poses as a writer doing a tour guide of ancient chateaus and is deemed by Anne to be the perfect face donor.

Part surgical horror, part gothic fairytale, all Eurosleaze, THE BLOOD ROSE begins nicely with shots of a beautiful, crumbling chateau and nicely melds period gothic settings and clothing of the countryside with sixties pop art and clothes of Paris but it cannot resist such outre French fantastique touches as a pair of servant dwarfs in caveman furs, poisonous plants, and the like. While the stylistic juxtaposition is interesting, plotting-wise the familiar elements of the surgical horror films (the investigating, disguised heroine, abducted female donors, police investigation, and mad doctors) clash with the gothic romance and result in uneven plotting and pacing. Advertised by US distributor Allied Artists as "the first sex horror film" the erotic content is mild by the standards of only a year or so later in European exploitation and the special effects are unconvincing (never a strong point in French low budget genre film which most of the benefit from naive smears of red lipstick, runny fake blood, and pale pancake, here it is more noticeable because the reveal of Anne's scarred face doesn't have the impact needed due to the poor effects). Long unavailable in English-speaking countries (apart from a very rare American tape from the dawn of VHS), THE BLOOD ROSE is still a worthy diversion and a good introduction to French cult cinema of the sixties and seventies.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 1970 (USA)

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DVD Review: Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:34:00 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.63:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono); English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.63:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Didier Philippe-Gerard (16:9; 23:09, French with English subtitles)
• Text Screen Liner Notes
• Still and Poster Gallery
• Mondo Macabro Preview Reel (16:9; 6:25)
• Cast and Crew Bios

DVD Release Date: August 28, 2007
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

The image is dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive with attractive saturated colors but while the softness is pleasing during bright scenes, dark scenes at times suffer but this fault may lie with the original materials and/or the filtering by cinematographer Roger Fellous. The quality of the English track doesn't quite equal the image track but it may be that better materials may have disappeared with US distributor Allied Artists (whose closing down also resulted in the loss of footage removed from the negative of Mario Bava's LISA AND THE DEVIL). The French track sounds cleaner but is encoded at a lower volume. English subtitles on the French track translate all of the dialogue (save for one line later on) and all of the onscreen text but there is no such option for the text when playing the film with the English track.

Director Claude Mulot (who adopted this film's protagonists name Frederic Lansac for his infamous foray into adult film PUSSY TALK) died in a swimming accident in the eighties but his longtime associate Didier Philippe-Gerard provides a 30 minute interview that spends only 5 minutes talking about THE BLOOD ROSE but goes gives a fairly comprehensive overview of Mulot's filmography and French filmmaking in the sixties and seventies (like Jean Rollin, Mulot made a risque film debut during the Paris riots in 1968 and ran into the same challenges in the late seventies when hardcore pornography replaced erotic films and in the eighties when genre film production all but died). As with other Mondo Macabro titles, the text screen liner notes should not be passed over as they are very informative rather than the usual ad copy. Besides a still and poster gallery for the film (which includes the cover of a French tape release nonsensically titled DEVIL'S MANIAC), Mondo Macabro's usual preview reel rounds out the extras.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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