A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (1973)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Jesus Franco,
Jean Rollin

Starring:
Christina von Blanc ... Christina Benson
Britt Nichols ... Carmencé
Rosa Palomar ... Aunt Abigail
Anne Libert ... The Queen of the Night

Country: Belgium, France, Italy, Liechtenstein
Runtime: 87 min
Original title: Christina, princesse de l'érotisme
AKA: Christine, Princess of Eroticism
Une vierge chez les morts vivants
     
       

Jess Franco is a friend of StrictlySplatter.com for three reasons. 1.) He makes horror films. 2.) He has tons of naked beauties in his films. 3.) His movies usually suck really bad. The film I'll be reviewing here fits all the criteria above and comes with an added feature: misrepresentation. The film is called "A Virgin Among the Living Dead". So I was expecting a young woman getting raped by zombies. It's sick, I know, but that's the image that the title evoked. Instead, the film is apparently some kind of ghost movie with nary a zombie (in the traditional sense of the word) in sight! The film is told in a very fractured, Euro-horror way, so I will try and give as faithful a review as possible, but I warn you that some story elements will not connect and never will.

Christina (played by the beautiful Christina von Blanc) arrives at Castle Monteserrat, her ancestral home, for the reading of her recently deceased father's will. She is picked up at a local inn by a deaf-mute called Basilio (played as a grunting idiot by Franco himself) and taken to the home to meet the rest of her estranged family. She first meets her Uncle Howard (played by the star of Franco's Orloff series Howard Vernon, looking worse for wear) then her sexy cousin Carmenze and is finally rushed upstairs to meet her Aunt Abigail and watch her new stepmother die. After the bizarre funeral, she takes a naked swim in a pond on the grounds of the property and two old perverts watch her. Later, she gets back to her room and someone has put dead bats on her bed for some reason, so she runs away and stumbles onto Cousin Carmenze sucking blood out of a naked blind girl's boob. A bit after that, the lawyer arrives and the will is read. Christina's father left her everything, the house and the property included.

Her strange family wants to leave, but she asks them to stay so she won't feel so lonely. They agree because they have nowhere else to go. Everything is fine and dandy until she starts to hear the ghostly voice of her supposedly deceased father! She begins to think something strange is going on, and if that weren't enough, then the next few scenes would cinch it for her. After dinner one night, Carmenze decides to roll around on the floor naked in front of Basilio for like 20 boring minutes. Then Christina wakes up in the morning and finds (I kid you not) a black dildo statue on the floor. She crawls to it in slow motion and smashes it, then Carmenze's blind slave girl appears in the corner and tells her that she has destroyed their only protection. Trust me, I doesn't make much sense in the film either.

She continues to hear her father's disembodied voice and follows it to a dilapidated farmhouse, where she finds him very much bodied and alive (sort of). He warns her of a blood curse and pleads with her to flee the grounds (why he left her the house in his will, we will never know). She is stubborn and follows the hanged ghost of her father to a barn where she finds him actually hanged from the rafters and alive. Continue to trust me folks, this is what actually happened and makes even less sense visually. Her strange family grabs her then and she faints as they begin to perform a satanic ritual over her naked body. Suddenly, she is back at the hotel where she started out from in the beginning and the doctors say she is dying. She finally dies and the Mistress of Darkness arrives to walk her into the pond on the property with the rest of her family. The end!

WTF! With a kick-ass title like that and a beautiful leading lady, Franco could have made the definitive Euro-haunted house movie, but instead he turns in a boring, incomprehensible tit fest, like most of his other disasters. Maybe it's my western sensibilities, but I did not get this film, and odds are there was nothing to get. Were her family ghosts? Zombies? She was among the living dead, or so the title says, but I saw nothing living dead about them. Were they living dead because they were as boring as corpses? This is classic Jess Frano: boring, full of nude women, and unexplainably supernatural. I'll give it one thing, though. Christina von Blanc is the only reason this film gets 1 coffin.

  - Jose Prendes

 

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