October 5, 2013

Horror-A-Day: The Iron Rose

There are some directors whose work is an acquired taste. One of those directors is Jean Rollin. I have not yet seen enough of his movies to make up my mind regarding my thoughts of him, but I am certainly intrigued enough to keep trying more of his films. Who knows when that may change. The latest film to infect my brain is The Iron Rose. It is a movie that bears some distinct Rollin elements, while being a rather atypical release for the prolific director.

While The Iron Rose does have some requisite nudity, it does not have vampires, zombies, twins, or lesbians. Now, don't let this turn you off to the movie. This really is a good movie, even if it will leave you scratching your head. It goes off in metaphysical directions that I am still thinking about. When you take that away, you are left with a movie that is deceptively simple, perhaps implausible, but somewhat believable.

The simply credited Boy (Hugues Quester) and Girl (Francois Pascal) meet at a wedding reception and after a piece of dark poetry, recited by the Boy, the two agree to a biking date the following day. They meet up at an old train station and after running around and frolicking on the trains, they bike into town, stopping at a cemetery for a lunch break.

The girl is a little skittish about the creepy locale, while the boy notes there is still plenty of space. Thins are fine until they sneak into an open tomb for a little lovemaking. They are down there so long that by the time they come back up, the sun has set, in the dark of night, lit only by the moon, the cemetery looks like a much differed place and the couple cannot find their way out.

This is where things begin to get strange. This is not your usual horror movie, there is no monster waiting in the shadows, there is no crazed killer stalking them, there are no ghosts or spirits haunting them. Whatever is there is in their minds. We spend the night with them as their attitudes and personalities change, affected by their situation and their location.

The boy becomes increasingly aggressive as their inability to find the exit continues, with acts of violence pointed towards the girl make the relationship a bit more tense. On the other hand, the girl gets per her initial fears and becomes more attuned to being surrounded by the dead. It all builds to a finish that left me scratching my head.

The Iron Rose is an involving movie. It is rather slow paced and the dialogue is sparse, but I kept watching just to see what would happen. Their journey into the cemetery speaks to ideas of love and hate, life and death, it is a microcosm of societal breakdown. Or something like that.

Jean Rolin has created an enigmatic tone poem of a movie. It is not going to be a movie that will appeal to everyone, much like most of the Rollin films I've seen, but it is certainly one to take a chance on.


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