Blood and Roses (Et mourir de plaisir)
Film: Blood and Roses (Et mourir de plaisir)
Director: Roger Vadim
Writer: Roger Vadim and Roger Vailland
Starring: Mel Ferrer, Elsa Martinelli and Annette Stroyberg
This film starts off with a voice-over narration telling us that we are in a modern world and that no one believes in the supernatural anymore. The woman states that despite this, vampires are still alive and that they are lying dormant, including herself.
We then meet the cast. The patriarch of the family is played by Mel Ferrer. His fiancé is played by Elsa Martinelli. A man who is going to do fireworks for the engagement party is played by Alberto Bonucci. He has arrived to go over with Ferrer the final preparations. There is Ferrer’s cousin, who is from a different line of their family and she is played by Annette Stroyberg. There is also a doctor played by René-Jean Chauffard and a servant played by Serge Marquand. Martinelli’s father is also there and he is a judge played by Marc Allégret.
Bonucci wants to set up his fireworks in the abbey behind the house and it is then revealed that it is an old cemetery. It used to house the ancestors of the family, but they are no longer there. We then learn that the family actually was vampires back in the late 1700s. They were supposed to be wiped out, all except one. There is a painting of this one and she looks a lot like Stroyberg. She tells the story of this vampire loved her cousin and that she would kill all of his fiancés since she could not be with him.
Stroyberg is anti-social while the party is going on. We see that Ferrer truly loves Martinelli and he has a close connection with his cousin. Stroyberg decides to join the party, but she puts on the wedding dress of her ancestor. This makes those at the party uncomfortable. The fireworks start, but it causes an explosion. Bonucci talks about how this has never happened and he is shamed. An investigation starts to see what happened.
The voice-over narration continues and it is calling to Stroyberg. She goes into the crypt and finds the tomb of the woman from the painting. Marquand sees Stroyberg dressed in white and thinks that she is a phantom.
There is a change in Stroyberg. She doesn’t seem to like to be in the sun and she is trying to seduce Ferrer. She still gets along with Martinelli, but she is rivaling her now for her fiancé. The townspeople believe that the vampires have returned, but they do not know who the vampire is. There is a young woman, played by Nathalie Lafurie, who is found dead. She has marks on her neck and she was following Stroyberg. Ferrer and Chauffard believe that the marks are from her cross necklace when she fell. The townspeople are not so sure.
Is Stroyberg a vampire or is she just falling victim to the story she told? Will she get Ferrer or will marry Martinelli? Will there be any other victims before she can be stopped?
I will say that I didn’t know much about this film coming in, but I did see that it was version of the novel Carmilla, which I knew to be a famous vampire novel. I will say that the acting in this film is good. I found Martinelli and Stroyberg to be very attractive. The story itself was my favorite though. I love the mystery that this film builds. Is Stroyberg a vampire? We never really get our answer, but this film can be viewed as her being one or it can also be viewed as she is not psychologically stable. There isn’t a large body count and the film is great at having the death scenes to take place off camera as well.
The biggest I have with this film is that it moves quickly, but not a whole lot happens. The film did well at filling us in the on the story, but the rest of it just everyone kind of hanging out and drinking together. There isn’t much action and I feel that the film just fills us in on what is happening instead of letting us discover it ourselves.
Now with that said, I would recommend this one if you want a good psychological vampire film. The acting is good as is the story. The film is a little boring, because the film doesn’t have a lot of action. The best part is to decide if Stroyberg is a vampire or not. Her mental state helps to establish this. She is also easy on the eyes as is Martinelli. If this sounds good, give it a chance, but also keep in mind that this film is from 1960 as well.
My Rating: 7 out of 10