Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fascination Blu-ray


A pair of society women dressed in all their finery stand in the middle of an abattoir, animal carcasses hanging behind them and blood splashed across the floor. Giggling and fidgeting, they drink their prescribed glass of ox blood. The startling, unreal image of high-society manners in the midst of gore and death pitches Jean Rollin's 1979 feature Fascination into a turn-of-the-century culture come unhinged. When a well-dressed rogue, fleeing from angry partners he double-crossed, takes refuge in a lavish, moat-protected mansion, servant girls Franca Mai and Brigitte Lahaie cajole, tease, and seduce him into staying for their nighttime soiree. "You have stumbled into Elizabeth and Eva's life, the universe of madness and death," mutters one of them as they await the cabal where he is the guest of honor. Shot on a starvation budget and populated with stiff performers, Rollin's direction is arch and at times sloppy and his story never more than an outline. It's the mix of dreamy and nightmarish imagery that gives Fascination its fascination: blonde Lahaie stalking victims with a scythe, the bourgeois blood cult swarming over a fresh victim like wild animals, alabaster faces streaked in blood.


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