31 Days of Horror: Fascination (1979)

fascination movie poster

French director Jean Rollin is somebody whose name I’ve known for years, but whose films I had never sat down and watched until today. He made a lot of movies in his career but is probably best known for a series of erotic vampire films he made in the 1970s. Fascination is probably his best-known movie.

It is about a man who flees from his fellow villainous compatriots with a bag full of stolen gold. He winds up in a creaky, old, castle where he plans to hide out until the cover of darkness. There he meets two beautiful women clad in flowing white gowns.

Though he has a gun and speaks as if he’s willing to use it the women do not seem afraid. They taunt him and speak elliptically about further friends coming that evening and something sinister happening at midnight. The man doesn’t understand but is attracted to them and so he stays.

More women in flowing gowns arrive and they too play games with the man. I’ve already noted that Rollin is known for his erotic vampire films so you can probably guess where this film is going, though it may actually surprise you.

The film uses the castle, and those flowing gowns, to great effects. This is more a mood piece than a particularly violent horror film. It takes its time getting to where it’s going but it is mesmerizing just the same. Well worth a watch if you enjoy gothic horror and beautiful vampires.

31 Days of Horror: The Blancheville Monster (1963)

blanceville monster poster

This is film #2 of Arrow Videos Italian Gothic Horror boxed set. I’ll be reviewing the entire thing soon so I won’t say much about it here. The Italians were great at taking successful American genres and making them their own. When Roger Corman found success with several Edgar Alan Poe adaptations the Italians started adapting his stories. The Blancheville Monster (also known simply as Horror as seen from the poster) basically rips Corman’s adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher. The story, about a woman who returns home to her family castle, discovers that everything has changed and that someone (possibly a ghost) is trying to kill her before her 21st birthday, is pretty standard gothic horror story stuff.

But it looks great and contains everything you want – a spooky old castle, creepy shadows, flowing white gowns, and a monster in the attic – from this sort of thing. It isn’t a great film, its own director essentially disowned it calling it “a little film of no importance” but I found it quite enjoyable.

31 Days of Horror: Lady Morgan’s Vengeance (1965)

Lady Morgans Vengeance Poster

If you paid any attention to my last post then you might have noticed that this film does not appear on my list of horror films to watch this month. That’s because it is part of a four-film boxed set from Arrow Video entitled Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror which appeared in my mailbox today. I’ll be reviewing the entire set for Cinema Sentries in a few days or so, thus I’ll not say much about it here.

It is a surprisingly good film about a woman who marries a man she doesn’t love and finds herself in an old Scottish castle. Her husband and her staff begin gaslighting her, and she starts seeing spooky things and hearing spooky noises, and then she’s killed. Her ghost seeks some pretty fun revenge on those responsible for her death. I’d say that was a spoiler but those details you’ll find on the back of the box so it isn’t really a surprise.

I love a good gothic horror story and this has plenty of creeping sets, shadowy lighting, and billowy gowns. It is definitely worth checking out if you are into that sort of thing.