Fascination – DVD Review

For once Redemption releases a movie that is almost entirely free of sadomasochism against women—I feel like Christmas has come early.

It’s not so surprising, though, considering Fascination was directed by Jean Rollin, who also directed Lips of Blood, the only Redemption title that didn’t make me want to vomit or hide under my protective blanket of fear.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t moments that will make Redemption fans happy. The movie begins with a rather disturbing scene of a woman “seductively” rubbing ox blood on her lips, and later on we’re treated to a lesbian scene, a rape scene, and scene where a woman has her face sliced open with a scythe.

What Fascination does is show how a good director can elevate this material to a place that’s definitely not art, but is certainly better than the usual grindhouse fare. Rollin’s strengths definitely lie in atmosphere and pacing and in Fascination he does a very good job of creating and sustaining a sense of mystery.

That sense of mystery makes summarizing the plot difficult because this movie really relies on that and the revelation at the end. The story, really, is rather simple: Marc is a thief on the run from a group of bandits whom he swindled. He takes refuge in a strange manor house where he encounters two women, Elisabeth and Eva. The two constantly play mind games with Marc, alternatively acting frightened, then aroused, then even threatening. They enticingly hint at a gathering that will happen at midnight and use the threat of the bandits outside and the promise of sexual delights to convince him to stay for it.

Compared to Redemption’s usual fare, this movie is positively tame and somewhat enjoyable to watch, like a mid-level B movie. Those looking for a more hardcore experience may want to skip this one and wait for Satanic Sluts III: Getting Back at Daddy or whatever the title may be, but if you’re looking for an actual movie made by an actual filmmaker, this one isn’t too bad.

Fascination was filmed in 1979, so obviously it’s not going to look or sound as well as modern movies. The movie is presented in Widescreen 1.66:1 aspect ratio. No specifications were given for the audio, but be warned that the only language track is in French, with English subtitles offered. All in all, this was a good transfer.

Theatrical Trailer (2:27) – This trailer is rather odd. It’s just a series of scenes with no voiceover and the title intermittently flashing on the screen. As far as trailers go, this one wouldn’t make me want to watch the movie.

Stills Gallery – It seems like stills galleries go one of two ways: either they have an insane amount of pictures, or three or four at most. This gallery went the latter way.

Jean Rollin Promos

The Nude Vampire (3:33) – I have no idea what this movie is about other than it has something to do with vampires.

The Iron Rose (3:33) – As near as I can tell, this movie is all about a guy and a girl chasing each other through a cemetery and possibly having sex on a pile of bones. No thanks.

Redemption Trailers

Nature Morte

Satanic Sluts

I’m really curious as to whether anybody at Redemption actually reads my reviews. My guess is nobody is considering I don’t see how I’m helping them promote their products. In fact, if I was in charge of sending out DVDs to reviewers, I would take my name off the list and ban me from all future viewings of any Redemption titles. Boy, that would show me. Anyway, Fascination is a better than average movie from them, which means that I only felt slightly nauseous and ashamed when it finished. That’s about the best compliment I can give for a Redemption movie.

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Redemption USA presents Fascination. Directed by Jean Rollin. Starring Franka Mai, Brigitte, Lahaie, Jean-Marie Lemaire, Fanny Magier, Muriel Montosse, Sophie Noel, Eveerlyne Thomas. Written by Jean Rollin. Running time: 80 minutes. Rated NR. Released on DVD: October 28, 2008. Available at Amazon.

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