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Iron Rose, The - DVD - Redemption Films Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 26 August 2013
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The Iron Rose DVD Cover Art from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema
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AKA: La rose de fer, Die eiserne Rose, Nuit du cimitiere, La rosa di ferro

Directed by:
Jean Rollin
Written by:
Jean Rollin, Maurice Lemaitre
Produced by:
Sam Selsky
Cinematography by:
Jean-Jacques Renon
Editing by:
Michel Patient
Music by:
Pierre Raph
Cast:
Francoise Pascal, Hugues Quester, Natalie Perrey, Mireille Dargent, Jean Rollin
Year:
1973
Country:
France
Language:
French (English Dubbed)
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 20min

Distributor: Redemption Films
 

Jean Rollin's films are like the definition of a cult thing altogether; you can get it and enjoy it, or you can see a mess of surreal images with nudity and vampires thrown in.  It's usually nubile looking vampires and location shots, or gothic crypts, or scythe waving women.  Now and then Jean Rollin took on something else, like zombies in "The Grapes of Death" and... can we count "Zombie Lake?"  I mean, was that really his?  Of course there was "Sidewalks of Bangkok" and "Lost in New York"; some nudity, no vampires, but always artistic.  As a fan of Rollin's work I was informed by so many reviews and articles over time that "The Iron Rose" was perhaps his masterpiece, totally different and a gripping story set entirely in a graveyard.  What?  A Jean Rollin flick better than "The Living Dead Girl?"  On a level above "Requiem for a Vampire" and "Fascination?"  So with great anticipation we sat down for this one and I admit I was glued to the screen with wide child like eyes.  My Horror Soulmate gave me a look to say, “You're expecting too much.”

"The Iron Rose" opens with actress Francoise Pascal wandering a beach, the audio broken by the hypnotic noise of the wind and the tide.  She discovers a rose made of iron.  The lengthy camera shots and moody angles accompanied by the spectral music makes a simple long shot of her walking interesting.  She meets with her partner and as they kiss and cuddle in a train siding, the credits run.

Their town is just a depressing length of streets littered with ruined and tired houses.  At a wedding, they first talk outside and later meet at the old train yard from the credits.  They chase each other and play like kids.  “No place can be more peaceful,” he says as they venture into a huge cemetery.  Very old and mostly overgrown, they go deeper in, happy to be away from the noise of the city.  We view an old woman with flowers and an unusual man in what appears to be opera type gear, glaring their way.  Arm in arm, the boy and girl (note that their names are never revealed) discuss life and death and we also see a disturbing and saddened clown holding dying flowers for no reason whatsoever except to add to the dreamlike feel of the film.  In fact Jean Rollin himself admitted to wanting to make something close to a spontaneous camp fire tale, and I suppose similarities could be drawn to Lucio Fulci's "The Beyond," which also gathers a fractured bad dream storyline.  Note as well, a hobo in the cemetery played by Jean himself.

The couple make love in an open crypt in the one single throwback to Rollin's other films where erotica and horror collide in a slow and artistic caress.  Finding that darkness is falling, they walk and cannot find their way to the gates.  “I guess I was mistaken, the centre lane must be the other way,” he says.  Panic stricken and lost they run and the dubbing breaks down with banal statements like: “By the morning we'll still be running around!”  My Horror Soulmate added to the script: “No cause it'll be easier in daylight.”

Round and round they dash, past the dark stones, and the giant mausoleums, back to the open crypt, over the graves...  There's no tinted lens, the screen in practically black and grey.  As fear sets in they fight.  She strikes him with a wooden cross, he chases her slapping and throwing her about.  “That is enough!”  They calm down.  “Are you cold?” he asks.  “Yes... no... What do you think?” she whispers, eyes glazed over.  “I don't know any more,” he admits, “I'm lost.  Bastard cemetery!”

As the night goes on, she grows distant, her speech poetical in tone.  At one point she shrieks, “Oh my friends!  Answer me please!  They confine you beneath their crosses, but you're not dead!”  Shaken, he runs from her and falls into an open tomb, writhing in pain.  She jumps in after him, forcefully kissing and they make love on top of skulls and bones.

Afterwards they just walk.  Holding a skull, she waxes lyrically about what the outside world really is and how she doesn't want to leave.  (Look out for the scene with the soldier's headstones,how some wobble too easily).  He sets a fire in the hopes of getting attention as the night gets darker.

By the halfway mark things tend to drag.  It's a brave movie; a grown up Jean Rollin tackling something original.  "The Iron Rose" plays like a poem, I suppose.  There are verses running through and to describe some moments is like finding your own meaning and perhaps others will find other meanings true to themselves.  A simple idea becomes a one-off and as I said, it does drag after some time.  However, like Jorg Buttgereit's works, music is a focal point and drives everything onwards, courtesy of Pierre Raph, who composed a handful of Jean's other works.  As for the graveyard itself, well, that simply chews the rest of the film and spits it out because of its grand beauty.  No one can act against it, though Pascal's slow transformation is incredible throughout.

"The Iron Rose" is hard to figure out so don't try.  Sit back, watch and consider what you've witnessed afterwards.  It's an experience you feel rather than see.  At the time of its release it apparently was a dramatic failure because I suppose everyone expected lesbian vampires and at least some blood and FX.  It has no blood or special effects of any sort and plays like a stage play with its cemetery location, acting as the ever changing stage.  The early seventies was a major time for exploitation and it seems audiences weren't in the right frame of mind.  Over the years, fans have grown warm and more receptive and I reckon if you have a head for arthouse or Alejandro Jodorowsky -- basically something to make you think afterwards -- then this is for you.

Redemption haven't done a bad job.  The clean up is nice, and even the pitch black images are watchable, unlike the old tape versions I've seen clips from.  On the extras, Jean Rollin compares it to "Requiem for a Vampire" due to its simplicity and small cast.  There's a seven-minute interview with Natalie Perrey, who was also the assistant director on "Fascination" and the old woman carrying flowers in this film.  It would have been nice to have had an interview with Hughes Quester (he had his name removed from the credits originally) instead of just Francoise Pascal (incidentally, The Darkside Magazine ran a very in-depth interview with the actress recently) or even Mireille Dargent from "Requiem for a Vampire," "The Demoniacs," etcetera, because she played the creepy clown.  Never mind, you can't have it all.  Added to the mix are trailers for "The Iron Rose" and four other Rollin curios.  There's another Redemption release which features a short Jean Rollin movie, but I don't think it has the English dubbed version.  This review is from the 2012 release.

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

The Iron Rose DVD Screenshot from Redemption Films on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 16:9
 Region: PAL R0
 Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 5.1


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - English dubbed version
 - French with subtitles
 - Introduction by Jean Rollin
 - Interview with Francoise Pascal
 - Interview with Natalie Perrey
 - Four original trailers for "The Iron Rose"
 - Original trailers for "Shiver of the Vampire," "The Nude Vampire," "Lips of Blood," "Fascination"
 - English Opening Title Sequence

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 August 2013 )
 
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