Two Orphan Vampires (1997) from Tuna

Les Deux orphelines vampires (1997) marks the return of Jean Rollin to film making, after a semi-retirement due partly to lack of an audience, and partly to failing health. In fact, he had to undergo dialysis every other day while shooting this one. It is based on is own novel of the same name, which means The Two Orphan Vampires, and is an updated version of his classic material, in that he is striving for Surrealism, puts naked women in unexpected places, and has a leisurely pace and little real action.

The DVD contains a lengthy interview which was more interesting to me than the film, in which Rollin explains that his mother was really into Surrealism, and he was raised with it. Asked why he picked vampires to focus on, he points out that they are the only classic movie monster that seduces rather than frightens and overpowers. He went on to explain that he originally didn't intend to include nudity in these films, but producers demanded it, fearing that there would be no market at all for a French horror film, but, as a Grade B soft core, they might turn a profit.

Two 14 year old orphans are living in an orphanage, and everyone thinks they are blind. This is true during the day, but, at night, they can see.  They are adopted by an ophthalmologist, who takes them to his home in Paris, hoping to cure them. They continue to sneak out at night for adventure. Among the characters they meet are a Wolf Woman (Nathalie Karsenty , who shows breasts) and a ghoul. The two orphans, played by newcomers Alexandra Pic and Isabelle Teboul, also show breasts in one dark scene. After no end of problems, they end up back at the orphanage before the conclusion. The two characters are developed in such a way as to make them totally non-threatening, even though they do drink blood and kill people.


see the main commentary
For me, the strength of Rollin's work has always been imagery, and this one didn't deliver. Other than frequent graveyard scenes, the locations weren't nearly as interesting as in most of his films, and he seems to have lost the secret of lighting night scenes. It is possible that part of the problem was the transfer, which was noisy and undersaturated. While I am very pleased that Rollin is again making films, this is not one of his better ones.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen version

  • Rollin interview

Scoop's note: no doubt about it, Rollin is the Orson Welles of twin teen lesbian vampire movies. His greatest talent was his ability to deliver a film that looked far more expensive and artistic than it actually was. He has actually made films that look respectable in situations where he had a budget of literally zero, failing even to feed the actors on location, let alone pay them!

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The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.2/10 (statistically insignificant)


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

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