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MOVIE REVIEWS

The Living Dead Girl (1982)

[ La Morte Vivante ]


TAGLINE
Seule, Hurlant Sa Démence Dans La Nuit...

The Living Dead Girl on DVD
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Hot French babes! Full frontal nudity! An axe to the head! A person in flames! Lots of blood! You think that these things would add up to a pretty darn good zombie movie wouldn't you? Well you would be wrong, at least in the case of this bizarre and often ridiculous story of friendship that goes beyond the grave, brought to us by the great nation of France.

I was going to make a sarcastic jab at the French movie industry...but nothing is popping into my head at the moment, and frankly, I don't feel like thinking of one. So here's the place where you insert your own joke. Now back to the review. I had gotten this movie thinking, or assuming rather, that it would be in English. Now here's where you insert your own little joke about me thinking that a movie from France would be in English. Well the joke's on you, because it was in English, at least most of it was. It threw me for a slight loop because for the entire beginning of the film, it uses subtitles, but once you get to the main characters, it changes to English. Confusing at first, and it doesn't make much sense, but that's the way it is.

The movie starts out with some inept Frenchmen bungling the storage of some toxic waste goo. It's underneath a building where there happens to be a coffin containing a dead girl by the name of Catherine Valmont (Françoise Blanchard). You know what comes next...the waste is spilled. Oops! And since everyone knows that toxic waste awakens the dead, bad things happen. These guys weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer.

The story unfolds as Catherine makes her way back to her home, which is on the market to be sold, and gets in touch with her best friend named Helene, from her "alive" time. Of course Helene comes right over, only to find her friend naked and killing people. I know what you're thinking, "A naked zombie? There's no doubt I love zombies, but come on, I don't wanna see that!." Well that's simply not the case because this zombie is one hot dead chick. She gets my vote for the Hottest Dead Babe Award. We get to see all of her in her full frontal glory.

Jean Rollin decided that for this movie, dead people don't decompose. After 2 years of death, Catherine's still lookin' good. Maybe they had some makeup budget problems so this was the easy way out. Actually, it was to make their illogical story seem more credible. Had Catherine looked like a Fulci creation, Helene obviously would know she's dead. Instead, Helene just refuses to believe that her friend has risen from the dead, even after she sees Catherine feeding on the blood of humans. Helene seems to think that she's just going through some kind of phase because she actually helps Catherine to feed by going out and murdering people. Alright, stop right here. Maybe it's just me, but this is friendship taken way too far. You have to draw the line somewhere and in my book, killing people so your friend can feed on their blood is where the line is drawn! I don't care if you are "blood" sisters!

That's really the story in a nutshell, there's not a lot to it. Her friend is helping alleviate her pain by getting her fresh blood. The side story is some lady photographer, named Barbara, becoming obsessed with finding out Catherine's identity because she saw her walking in a field back to her house. The climax of the film comes when the photographer finally finds her, but what happens next I won't ruin for you.

The case can be made that The Living Dead Girl isn't even a zombie movie at all, and you could make some very good points on why it's not. One being the fact that Catherine's preference is the blood of her victims, not the flesh, and we don't get any indication that she's into brains either. Director Jean Rollin has a history of making vampire films, so this could be just another of his offshoots on that vampire lore. The bottom line is that she's undead either way you look at it. I prefer to put her into the zombie category for the simple fact that she's awoken by toxic waste, an oft-used movie method of zombification.

I can't complain about the acting on this one, it's actually acted out generally well. The gore is in full force and they do a good job. For me, the movie would have easily been an average film, if only the story hadn't fallen so short. So many things just didn't make sense and I simply wasn't able to overlook them.


RATING

(Out of 5)
DVD RELEASE DATE
November 11 1999


DEAD KEV'S ADVICE
While this movie follows often defies logic and common sense, its saving grace is that Françoise Blanchard makes a fine looking zombie. If you dig "hot" zombies (that's probably the only reason you like Return of the Living Dead 3), then watch this film. Those gorehounds out there should enjoy this one a bit. However, those looking for a quality story should look elsewhere.
ZOMBIE LESSONS LEARNED
Things you shouldn't do for your friends no matter how much they need it:
1. Cover up their murders
2. Let them feed off your blood
3. Kill strangers for them to suck the blood out of


DIRECTOR
Jean Rollin (Zombie Lake, The Grapes of Death)
WRITERS
Jean Rollin
Jacques Ralf
PRODUCER
Sam Selsky
CAST CHARACTER
Marina Pierro Helene
Françoise Blanchard Catherine Valmont
Mike Marshall Greg
Carina Barone Barbara Simon
Fanny Magier  
Patricia Besnard-Rousseau  
Jean Berel  
PRODUCTION COMPANY
Les Films ABC, Films Aleriaz, Films du Yaka
STUDIO
Image Entertainment
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
France
RUNNING TIME MPAA RATING
91 mins Unrated


INTERESTING TIDBITS
Known for a lot of experimental filmmaking techniques, this is one of the only films that Jean Rollin actually rehearsed the actors for.
AROUND THE WEB
Interviews with Jean Rollin - ShockingImages.com and Mondo Digital
Official Jean Rollin Website

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