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"The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

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"The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

Old 09-25-11, 07:31 PM
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"The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10






The Grapes of Death (1978)



Selected by Undeadcow



IMDB ENTRY

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET.

MAIN THREAD | LIST THREAD

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 10-10-11, 10:51 AM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

Excellent choice Undeadcow! With so many choices in the genre, it's nice to have some direction in recommendations from fellow fans.

I likely would have skipped this one for at least another year, as I feel like I'm way over my limit of French films. But I'm glad it was chosen, as it was a beautiful film, and also my first Jean Rollin film, who I've been meaning to check out.

An entertaining story, good gore, great score, and gorgeous natural beauty make up for weak make-up and a few slow moments.
Old 10-10-11, 10:11 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

Known in its native France as Les Raisins de la Mort (which makes me think of the California Raisins gone very, very wrong), this is one of the two Jean Rollin films that I've made it all the way through. The other was Zombie Lake, which I saw waaaaaay back when it first came out on VHS and I was far less discriminating. I pretty much enjoyed this one, although it think that I liked it less for the plot than for the great views of the wine country of France. It's a gorgeous film, and it reminded me in spots of Tombs of the Blind Dead because of the architecture (and the train). As for the plot, well...been there, done that. I guess that this might have been a bit more effective when it first came out, but there have been too many zombie films in the intervening years for this one to have much of an impact. Still, the scenery alone makes it worth watching.
Old 10-11-11, 03:42 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

When it comes to French films, I've long since resigned myself to the fact that I shouldn't expect anything in the way of a coherent narrative or any sort of resolution to the story since most of them simply end and leave you hanging. Instead one should simply go along for the (slow) ride and let the film take you where it would, be it beautiful vistas or impressionistic, dreamlike scenes. As such, Grapes of Death delivers an experience unlike other Zombie films where the blood and guts and zombie-killing is the main attraction. There's an ecological message to the tale as the zombies are created by pesticides which infect the grapes used for wine (very French!). All in all, I really enjoyed it.
Old 10-11-11, 09:21 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

Is the blind girl stumbling through the vineyard suppose to be metaphorical or just part of the ethereal style? I prefer the half-human slowly turning into zombies over the entirely brainless suddenly ravenous fiends.

The poster art for this film is amazing. The woman/grape being squeezed is absurd and I love the totally unrelated bondage exploitation poster used internationally. Spoiler for size and "nsfw"
Spoiler:



Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Excellent choice Undeadcow! With so many choices in the genre, it's nice to have some direction in recommendations from fellow fans.
Thanks, I'm glad to have done my fair share in interrupting your wedding packing/planing (don't do it!)

Originally Posted by pagefrance View Post
When it comes to French films, I've long since resigned myself to the fact that I shouldn't expect anything in the way of a coherent narrative or any sort of resolution to the story since most of them simply end and leave you hanging. Instead one should simply go along for the (slow) ride and let the film take you where it would, be it beautiful vistas or impressionistic, dreamlike scenes.
This. Grapes of Death has fantastic atmosphere. RIP Rollins, no one mixes sleaze and arthouse like him.
Old 10-11-11, 10:54 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

I watched a number of Rollin's movies (The Rape of the Vampire, The Shiver of the Vampires, Virgins and Vampires, Bacchanales Sexuelles and Lips of Blood) during the Drive-In/Exploitation/B- Movie Challenge this year. I was expecting that they would fit the exploitation category, but was surprised that (except for Bacchanales Sexuelles, a work for hire that was clearly exploitation) they were actually art films that loosely fit within the horror genre.

The Grapes of Death, on the other hand, seems more like a horror movie that loosely fits within the art film genre. It moves slowly and has a lot of the shots of the landscape and old ruins that are characteristic of his earlier movies, but doesn't have the same dream-like atmosphere found in his vampire movies. The special effects are not up to the work in American films of its era, but it is considerably more bloody than his earlier vampire movies, in which the killings seem symbolic (and probably fetishistic).

The Grapes of Death was apparently considered his take on Night of the Living Dead at the time of its release, although it seems more like a variation on The Crazies. However, Rollin's non-infected few are considerably less savage than Romero's characters.

The Grapes of Death proves that Rollin was capable of making a fairly conventional horror movie. It seems that his earlier vampire movies were like dreams because that was his goal, but Lips of Blood and The Grapes of Death show that he could make a movie that delivered the experience that horror fans look for, while retaining his personal vision and exploring his own obsessions. I prefer Lips of Blood because it seems a better expression of Rollin's personal vision, but The Grapes of Death is an interesting take on the zombie movie with some political relevance (particularly with regard to the issue of pollution and its effects).

I expect to watch at least two more of Rollin's movies during this challenge, and am looking forward to seeing how his vision and technique continued to develop.
Old 10-12-11, 05:59 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

This was my one of my first ventures into Rollin territory last year, and, next to Lips of Blood, it's my second favorite. Definitely the film that made me a fan.

Aside from that already mentioned, what really impressed me was the laid back pacing throughout and the claustrophobic isolation courtesy of the French countryside. Add a blind woman to the equation and it really intensifies the situation.

And unlike Living Dead Girl, the effects were actual pretty decent.
Old 10-17-11, 11:11 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

I just finished watching this one and I have to admit I liked it. I'm not usually one for slow moving horror films but this one kept me interested. Sure it could have been the random nudity and the gross effects. Also, the odd acting was unique.

And this many posts and no one mentions the unbelievably bodied blonde who strips on the outside steps. Her body was total perfection. Holy moley!

On the dvd there was a long interview with him and the blonde and several clips of Rollin's films were spliced in-between. With the amount of nudity, the strange acting and the plain out weird clips, I have to check out more of this guy's stuff. Looks like a lot of his stuff is available streaming on Netflix.

My rating of the film: *** out of *****. My rating of the blonde's body: ****** out of *****! Woah!
Old 10-18-11, 12:57 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

I realized I haven't commented yet on this film. This was my first Jean Rollin film, and I really liked it. I'm not sure what I was expecting based on people's previous comments about his films, but I thought it was great. It was actually already in my Netflix queue before it was announced as a daily film. I'm going to need to check out some more of his stuff, but this has been one of the standout first-time viewings for me this challenge.
Old 10-19-11, 04:32 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

Originally Posted by brianluvdvd View Post
Sure it could have been the random nudity
.....the unbelievably bodied blonde who strips on the outside steps. Her body was total perfection. Holy moley!

My rating of the blonde's body: ****** out of *****! Woah!
Her name is Brigitte Lahaie and she used to be a porn actress.
If you want to see more of her see Rollin's Fascination & Night of the Hunted.
Old 10-20-11, 12:04 PM
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Re: "The Grapes of Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 10

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Her name is Brigitte Lahaie and she used to be a porn actress.
Now THAT is some important information! Thanks.

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