Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Virgin Among the Living Dead, Life, Death, and Gang Rape in Europe

A virgin?  Christina von Blanc in 1973's "A Virgin Among the Living Dead," is the title character.  She doesn't look, or behave like a virgin.  Nude, every chance she gets, Christina (also her character's name) seems very comfortable when her clothes have been shed.  Whether it be skinny dipping, sleeping, or being gang-raped by her relatives, our character today could have only been created by one man....Jesus Franco.  The great Spanish movie-maker, specializing in erotic horror, delivers a weird one, which we will look at today.  Perhaps a virgin during the opening credits, Christina will not be one by the time the closing credits roll. is used figuratively.
Christina heads to her family's castle for the reading of her dad's will (...never a good idea).  The nubile young babe stops off at an inn where she is told by everyone, " one lives there."  This is a clue, ignored by our  When a ghoulish servant (Jesus Franco) comes to collect her, she meets him wearing see through panties.  Once at the castle, she meets her weird relatives, including her evil looking Uncle Howard (Howard Vernon) and nymphomaniac lesbian cousin, Carmence (Britt Nichols).  Her relatives are weird but she is open minded about them, even though each one wants to rape her, especially Clemence.  As she waits for the reading of the will, Christina takes a lot of naps in the nude and has weird visions/dreams.  In one instance, she goes out for a walk, happens upon a pond, and of course takes the opportunity for some skinny-dipping.  Luckily for half the town, they just happen to be hanging out at the pond while this is occurring.  Even the townspeople advise her no one lives at the castle.
Then Christina's visit gets really weird.  She begins hearing voices of her dead mother, warning her to leave.  A mysterious woman in black also beckons her...but to what?  In the 92 minute version (not the 78 minute one) undead ghouls crawl out of the ground and chase her.  Finally, her dead father (Paul Muller) appears to her, sporting a noose (see picture above), also warning her to leave.  Back at the castle, Clemence keeps popping up in Christina's bedroom, nude, admiring Christina's nudity.  One might assume Christina would start putting together some of these clues.  Ignoring all the warnings and clues, what fate is in store for our nude virgin?  Is Christina's sense of reality giving way to a dream like state with a blurred line between the living and the dead?
 However creepy the 78 minute version is, the 92 minute version ramps the creepiness up two levels. SPOLIER ALERT:  The gang rape scene in which all her relatives participate is brutal enough in the shorter version, but in the longer one, it borders on Rated X territory.  The additional 14 minutes is included in the "deleted scenes" section of the DVD. Weird and dreamlike, no doubt, but as with any Jesus Franco film, erotic undertones explode to the surface usually through the stunning, and mostly nude Christina von Blanc.

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