Considered by many to be director Jean Rollin's best work to date. Shot in just three weeks, "Lips of Blood" tells the tale of a young man plagued by visions of a castle and a ghostly woman in white, visions which eventually lead him to a cemetery of female vampires whom he releases into the city of Paris. This explicit, Oedipal fantasy is crammed full of dank dungeons, lesbian sex, coffins and seriously surreal vampires.
There's no director like Jean Rollin, the French horror fantasist who mixes the poetry of Jean Cocteau with the emotionless performances of Robert Bresson in his erotic vampire films. Lips of Blood
is one of his best, an Oedipal tale of a young man haunted by visions of a forgotten childhood when he spies a poster of a coastal castle at a party. Jean-Louis Philippe, a hopelessly bland and flat performer, wanders through the deserted piazzas and fountains of his suddenly odd and alien hometown, eerily lit up in the dead of night. He's a man lost in a world where a woman in white silently materializes like a supernatural muse, gunmen appear from the inky-black night, and four naked vampire girls prowl the streets for blood and watch over him like dark angels. It's a tale of blood, sex, and haunting desire full of nudity and death and told in an austere, surreal style born of forced budgetary austerity. Rollin is slipshod with his action scenes and stiff with performers, but once he leaves the confines of the "real" world (where he's oddly uncomfortable) his style creates a trancelike mood to complement the beauty of his poetically macabre vision. The film our hero watches early in the picture is Rollin's own Shiver of the Vampires
. --Sean Axmaker