Thoughts About the Movie “Lips of Blood”

23 09 2012

(Or, en français, Lèvres de Sang.)

Hoo boy. I need to lay off of the Netflix for a while. Or specifically lay off of what I can charitably call “Cinema Merde”. I was warned, I was told, I was advised, “don’t see this movie”. But too bad, free will is a thing, and now I get to write this lovely review. Sure, I could keep all this to myself, but there’s just so much WTF-ery involved here that I have to just shout it from the rooftops.

The again, unusually wordy synopsis (what the hell, Netflix, decide on synopsis length!):

French horror fantasist Jean Rollin directed this surreal, erotic vampire tale in which Pierre has recurrent dreams of an ancient mansion and a ghostly woman in white. When one day Pierre sees an advertisement with a picture of the mansion from his dreams, he tracks down the photographer. Soon, Pierre finds himself in a coven of beautiful women who live in the dark edges of Paris and drink human blood to survive.

So… sexy vampire ladies then?

Spoilers follow, but you know you want them. You want them so bad.

The Good:

Very little.

Actually, juvenile fart-joke loving me is all “BOOOOOBS” because god damn, I am so building a time machine and heading straight for 1975 Paris. Who knew all the women were naked? And if they aren’t, wait five minutes. Bonus points for the revealing back-story towards the end of the movie where the (mostly) naked vampire ladies surround some woman who is apparently picking baguettes or something AT FUCKING MIDNIGHT next to some castle ruins and voila, she’s naked too. Off to her “horrible fate” which was probably living in the drafty castle au naturel.

And being fair, “dream-like” is a quality that could be applied to this movie (it might explain a few things) but that’s a cop-out for bad everything.

The Bad:

The whole movie, really. But, I have to say, if not for the gratuitous nudity MST3K would have had a field day with this manure. Really, you can’t watch this without imagining [either Joel or Mike], Crow, and Tom Servo chiming in on every detail. My all-time favorite crappy scene was the (mostly) naked vampire ladies walking up to their first victim and baring their insanely back-set fangs (far enough back that they’re molars) and the 3rd woman in the line is having trouble getting her upper lip to curl back over the fang tips. Awful.

French Peter Frampton (or Leif Garrett? I can’t decide) at one point is chased by someone with a gun, which sends him running wildly to… an escalator. And the camera sits there about 1000 feet away and films the. whole. ride. down. I’m not a film student but come ON, any other director in the universe knows to get close-up under his chin or something to sell the drama. Or he could have run down THE STAIRS right next to the escalator.

FPF(OLG?ICD) is obsessed with finding a 16 year-old. He didn’t have the decency to get the sporty car and gold bracelets first, what with those crow’s feet of his (SRSLY, he’s supposed to be 32 but looks 59, and has about the same athletic ability). He probably lied on his OkCupid profile and said he made upwards of 100K a year doing “other”. Also he apparently lives with his mother, who doesn’t approve of this obsession with 16 year-olds (shocker). He’s also hit up by TWO non-vampiric naked women and he acts like they’re asking for directions to the bus stop. Guess he’s into that kinky stuff.

I understand from reading good old IMDb that the movie was filmed at times without the proper permits, hence the far away camera shots. Okay, maybe they get the close-ups and GTFO? It’s Paris at night-time, which apparently in 1975 had a 7 o’clock bedtime. Get the shot.

The vampires don’t remotely follow canon. “They need to rest during the day.” Okay, against a lamp-post or what? Nothing seems to be off-limits for the (mostly) naked vampire ladies except for clothing that isn’t a window sheer over their heads or Ben Kenobi’s cloak collection (coming in 1977). They’re out in broad daylight! They eat garlicky shrimp scampi! They do bible study! What kind of fast and loose vampires did they have in Paris in the 1970s anyway?

The crucifix that is supposed to be keeping the surprise shocking vampire at bay continues to be in use even after she is let out of her coffin. Ummmmm, not sure why she couldn’t “just” get out then.

FPF(OLG?ICD)’s mother is the head vampire hunter (huh?) and sure, now we find the (mostly) naked vampire ladies’ weakness: being chased at a slow pace by people holding wooden stakes. They can change into BATS, idiot, as the movie took pains to show early on. So, what, they can’t do it during daylight hours (and as we all know Paris gets the midnight sun so good luck with that)? “We need to sever their heads,” says Mom, who promptly forgets she said that and they burn the bodies. Hokay…?

Mais non! FPF(OLG?ICD) is reunited with booby 16 year-old vampire (I guess it’s okay in that she’s like, 48 in vampire years, at least) and we get to see the two of them give us the full monty (2 stars out of 4) before getting into a coffin together to be cast out to sea. And then the funniest contrived attempts at continuity happen, as the coffin runs into every possible obstacle, like low tide. But no, it magically shoves off and gets past that! (WTF?!) And then runs into tall pilings. But the tide rises 12 feet and off they go! (WTF??!!!) C’est finis, and not a moment too soon.

The Ugly:

Oh god, I have no idea if I want to re-live all of that.

For absolute sure, the illogical camera placement in some “key” scenes ruins the movie in what is supposed to contain gripping action. Instead it’s squint-o-vision as you realize “hey, FPF(OLG?ICD) is somewhere on the screen, and he’s getting away!”

The Verdict:

What, did you sniff glue?

Naturally, Netflix HQ is going to wonder why there’s a 1500% increase in viewership for this movie. I take full blame and you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

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