Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Grapes Of Death (1978) aka Les Raisins De La Mort aka Pesticide aka The Raisins Of Death

4.5 / 5
Tagline: N / A
Directed By: Jean Rollin
Written By: Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, Christian Meunier, Jean Rollin
Actors Include: Marie-Georges Pascal, Felix Marten, Serge Marquand
Genre: Horror
Length: 90 minutes
Banned: West Germany
Country: France

I had a really good feeling about this film just by reading about it so I ordered it having never seen it. I sure am glad I took that chance, because although this movie isn't really very well known, it should be. Firstly it's a French film, so you have to be willing to read subtitles to watch (unless you speak French of course) but because it is a French film the scenery is gorgeous. Why stop there though, this film is honestly shot lovingly and it's so lush and beautiful and so much time and care obviously went into most every shot that it's hard to not appreciate this. Also strangely the lead character Elizabeth (played by Marie-Georges Pascal) committed suicide in real life in 1985, but there aren't really any details. It just sort of makes it eerier somehow...Anyhow the plot is actually very creative and interesting as well. A local vineyard has been using some strange pesticide on the grapes for the wine which just happens to make pretty much everyone in the area sick. Not just kinda sick like oh darn I have a cold, but it makes the characters zombie-like in nearly every way including the aggression. Now this isn't just some lovely French film that snobs would appreciate, this is actually (according to the booklet) the "first French gore film). The effects aren't perfect but they are darned good considering the budget Rollin must have had. We are also treated to (if you dig chicks) several breasts, so it's not really "prudish" in any way. The film is suspenseful, it is a little slow paced, but it's more than captivating and rewarding. All I could thing was how could this not be a popular movie? It goes without saying that I can't make the movie popular on my own, but I'm going to darn well try so please make an effort to give this a whirl, it works as art, it works as a zombie (like) film, and it works as a thrilling horror story. I don't find many beautiful surprises like this one, but this is what makes watching horror films so great, when you find one that satisfies on all levels.

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