I was watching this again last night. Every time I watch this film it feels like a different film. In general it feels like a strange meeting of brilliant minds. Alcanthus' music punctuating the whole thing. It's as if I'm half dreaming but the dream is never the same. I had forgotten the conversation about Isis disguised as the Virgin Mary. I had forgotten the distinction Isolde makes between herself as a wandering vampire and the gentlemen of the castle as Bourgeois vampires. Other things I remembered but not quite as clearly. The skull in the fish bowl with fiery eyes. The shifting realities having a similar feel to the shifting realities of a dream. There are moments that are ridiculous and absurd and which clarify why Rollin was so little admired. The nudity, at certain moments, seems like pure lip-service paid to the commercial realities of trying to find an audience for a totally experimental movie.
I love that these films by Rollin are such a combination of flavours. I love that the gothic castles, broken statues and graveyards will always lead, at some point, to a cold looking beach with rolling waves. I love that there will be moments of visual surprise eclipsing most surreal cinema while at the same time, on the surface, there is a plot that seems almost conventional (honeymoon results in virgin wife becoming a vampire bride).
Odd to think that this film lived for so many years through a few stills, some critical descriptions and that poster by Philippe Druillet whose strangely complicated and visually involved stories (Lone Sloane, Salammbo) I had followed in the pages of Heavy Metal magazine. Those images and ideas haunted me as a child and I never believed I would be able to see this film or any of the others by Rollin. It was Redemption who came to the rescue when they released a version (with smudged colours) on VHS at that strange time when the impossible seemed to be happening.
Suffice to say that it is still a film worth watching. The daft bits are just as daft as ever and I found myself thinking "why am I watching this silly film" only to think, in the space of a minute or two, that I was in fact watching one of the most amazing films ever shot.