Jean Rollin

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Jean Rollin
Jean rollin at his home.jpg
Jean Rollin
Born Jean Michel Rollin Roth Le Gentil
(1938-11-03)3 November 1938
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died 15 December 2010(2010-12-15) (aged 72)
Paris, France
Occupation Director, actor, writer
Years active 1958–2010
Spouse(s) Simone Rollin (?–2010) (his death)

Jean Michel Rollin Roth Le Gentil (3 November 1938 – 15 December 2010) was a French film director, actor, and novelist best known for his work in the fantastique genre such as the vampire film Le Viol du Vampire (1968) and the first French gore film Les Raisins de la Mort (1978).[1]

Early life[edit]

Jean Rollin was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine (now Hauts-de-Seine), France, to Claude Rollin, an actor and theatre director, who went by the stage name "Claude Martin", and Denise Rollin-Le Gentil, thus being born into an artistically inclined family.[2] His half-brother was actor Olivier Rollin.


Early career and short films[edit]

Jean Rollin at the premiere of La Morte Vivante (1982)

He had a passion for cinema from an early age. He saw his first film during the second World War, it was Capitaine Fracasse, a 1942 film directed by Abel Gance. Jean decided he want to make films when he grew up; his father, being a theatre actor, was a heavy influence on him. During his teens, he developed an obsession for American serials and read comic books. These serials were an obvious influence on him as a teenager. When he was 16, he found a job at Les Films de Saturne, he was there to help write invoices, and earned himself some money, and of course wanted to be involved in cinema. They specialized in creating opening and closing credits and short cartoons, but real films were also shot, and industrial shorts and documentaries were also made. Jean was part of the crew in a short documentary about Snecma, a big factory in France which built motors and planes. He arranged the tracking shots, laid the tracks, checked the electricity, and helped the cameraman. When Jean did his military service for the French army, he worked as an editor in the cinema department alongside Claude Lelouch. They worked on army commercials, Lelouch directed, and Jean did the montage, and also did two films, Mechanographie, a documentary, and La Guerre de Silence (The War of Silence), a real film with actors and a story. In 1958, he directed his first short film Les Amours Jaunes (The Yellow Lovers), which he directed after he left the army. He shot it on a 35mm Maurigraphe camera, and used a beach in Dieppe as his location, the same beach that was used in his later films. In 1960, Jean decided to direct his first feature film, but later abandoned the project as he had no money to finish it. His next short, Ciel de Cuivre (Sky of Copper), was directed in 1961, and was quite surreal, it told a sentimental story. He did not finish the film because he ran out of money and because it was not very good. The footage is now lost. In 1962, he was as an assistant director on the film Un Cheval pour Deux (A Horse for Two), which was not a great experience for him, and he decided to approach cinema in a different way. In the early sixties, Jean became interested in politics, and made a short documentary in 1964 called Vivre en Espagne (Life in Spain), it was about Generalissimo Francisco Franco, thirty minutes were filmed and it was not very good, but he risked a lot to get it made. Jean and the crew found themselves pursued by the police and just managed to make it back into France. Jean also directed a short film in 1965 called Les Pays Loins.


Rollin prior to receiving the Life Time Achievement Award at the Montreal Fantasia Film Festival on 15 July 2007

In 1968, Jean directed his first feature Le Viol du Vampire (The Rape of the Vampire). At the time he was still not known in the world of cinema, having only done a few short films and documentaries. The film was shot on a low budget, and consisted of two parts because it was originally supposed to be another short film, the second part was later added so that it was released as a feature film.[3] The release of Le Viol caused public scandal and outrage, his strong inspiration of American serials did not attract viewers. It was released during the events of May 1968, and due to the riots, it was a rare theatrical production at the time. Jean himself was also threatened due to this scandal,[4] because of this, Jean briefly decided to give up making films. His second feature La Vampire Nue (The Nude Vampire) was his first film in colour. It was mostly inspired by the 1916 film Judex, and also surrealism in general. Jean wanted to do something a little more temperate than Le Viol, a traditional mystery film. It is exactly the same kind of film as his first feature, it also has the same spirit. Le Frisson des Vampires (The Thrill of the Vampires) was heavily influenced by the trappings of the hippie movement. The film was his most successful and commercial film to date, it was made on a shoe-string budget and was a dreamlike fantasy film,[5] a theme his films are known for. In 1971, Jean directed Requiem pour un Vampire (Requiem for a Vampire), which became one of his most successful films, and it was another low budget production, which almost took no money to make. There was no dialogue in the first forty minutes of the films, this was to simplify the story, direction and cinematography.

During his lifetime, Rollin never shot his films on video but reverted from 35mm to 16mm.[6]

In the mid-70's, lack of regular work led the director to direct mostly pornographic films under various pseudonyms, a process he kept on going up until the 80's.


Rollin died in December 2010 after a long illness. He is buried at cemetery Le Pere Lachaise in Paris, where his second son Carel also rests.[7]



Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Producer Actor Role Note
1956 Crime et châtiment Yes Le prêtre chantant Uncredited role
Crime and Punishment
1963 L'itinéraire marin Yes
1968 Un cheval pour deux Assistant director
A Horse for Two
1968 Le viol du vampire Yes Yes Yes Yes Villager Uncredited role
Rape of the Vampire
1969 La vampire nue Yes Yes The Nude Vampire
1970 Le frisson des vampires Yes Yes Yes The Thrill of the Vampires
1971 Requiem pour un vampire Yes Yes Requiem for a Vampire
La secte du diable Yes Le prêtre sataniste
1973 La rose de fer Yes Yes Yes The Iron Rose
Jeunes filles impudiques Yes Yes Man in red turtleneck Credited as Michel Gentil
Uncredited acting role
Schoolgirl Hitchhikers
Le sourire vertical Yes The Vertical Smile
A Virgin Among the Living Dead Yes Dream sequence added to film in 1981
1974 Tout le monde il en a deux Yes Yes Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
Fly Me the French Way
Les Démoniaques Yes Yes Demoniacs
1975 Phantasmes Yes Yes Yes Once Upon a Virgin
Lèvres de Sang Yes Yes Yes Le gardien du cimetière Uncredited acting role
Lips of Blood
1976 Douces pénétrations Yes Yes Yes Le chef cuisinier Credited as Michel Gentil
Suce moi vampire Yes Yes Un chasseur Credited as Michel Gand
Suck Me Vampire
Hard version of Lèvres de Sang
La comtesse Ixe Yes
Amours collectives Yes Yes Mike Gentle the vampire Scenes deleted
Apothéose porno Supervisor
1977 Hard Penetration Yes Yes Credited as Michel Gentle
Vibrations sexuelles Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
Saute-moi dessus Yes Yes Yes Invité fin Credited as Michel Gentil
Positions danoises Yes Yes Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
1978 Remplissez-moi... les 3 trous Yes Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
Petites pensionnaires impudiques Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
Lèvres entrouvertes Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
Lèvres gloutonnes Yes
Hyperpénétrations Yes Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
Positions danoises Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
Les raisins de la mort Yes Yes Yes The Grapes of Death
Discosex Yes Yes Yes Sound Engineer Credited as Robert Xavier
Uncredited as writer
1979 Gamines en chaleur Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
Fascination Yes Yes
Bouches lascives et pornos Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
Pénétrations vicieuses Yes Credited as Michel Gentle
Jeux d'adultes pour gamines expertes Yes
Entrez vite... vite, je mouille! Yes Yes Credited as Michel Gentle
uncredited as producer
1980 La nuit des traquées Yes Yes The Night of the Hunted
Mondo Cannibale Yes Uncredited
White Cannibal Queen
Clinique pour soins très spéciaux Yes
Minouche, fillette insatiable Yes Unlimited Girls
1981 Les paumées du petit matin Yes Yes
Le lac des morts vivants Yes Yes Stiltz Credited as J.A Laser
1982 La morte vivante Yes Yes Yes Salesman Uncredited as actor
Rêves de sexes Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
1983 Sodomanie Yes Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
Folies anales Yes Credited as Robert Xavier
1984 Les trottoirs de Bangkok Yes Yes Un tuere Undredited role
The Sidewalks of Bangkok
1985 Ne prends pas les poulets pour des pigeons Yes Credited as Michel Gentil
1988 Emmanuelle 6 Yes Yes Uncredited as director
1989 Perdues dans New York Yes Yes Lost in New York Uncredited as director
1990 La griffe d'Horus Yes Yes Television film
1991 À la poursuite de Barbara Yes Yes Uncredited as director
1992 Trepanator Yes Dr. Roll Direct-to-video
1993 Killing Car Yes Yes Bandaged man in car Credited as Michel Gentil in acting role
Filmed in 1989
Dinosaur from the Deep Yes Professeur Nolan Direct-to-video
1997 Les deux orphelines vampires Yes Yes Also writer of novel
2000 Le parfum de Mathilde Yes Yes Uncredited as director
2002 La fiancée de Dracula Yes Yes The Fiancee of Dracula
2007 La nuit des horloges Yes Yes The Night of Clocks
2010 La femme-bourreau Yes Un flic Uncredited role
Le masque de la Méduse Yes Yes Yes L'homme qui enterre la tête The Mask of the Medusa
Year Film Director Writer Producer Actor Role Note
Credited as

Short films[edit]

Year Title Crew role Notes
1957 La guerre du silence Editor N/A Documentary short
1958 Les amours jaunes Director N/A Short film
1958 Les mécaniciens de l'Armée de l'Air Editor N/A Documentary Short
1961 Ciel de cuivre Director N/A Short film
1964 Vivre en Espagne Director N/A Documentary short
1965 Les pays loin Director N/A
1966 Tristesse des anthropophages Producer Un client du restaurant scatophage Short film
1967 Faire quelque chose Producer N/A Short film

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Actor Le viol du vampire La vampire nue Le Frisson des vampires Requiem pour un vampire La rose de fer Les démoniaques Lèvres de sang Les raisins de la mort Fascination La nuit des traquées Les paumées du petit matin La morte vivante Les trottoirs de Bangkok Perdues dans New York Killing Car Les deux orphelines vampires La fiancée de Dracula La nuit des horloges Le masque de la Méduse
Jean Aron Yes Yes
Anissa Berkani-Rohmer Yes Yes
Paul Bisciglia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Françoise Blanchard Yes Yes Yes
Jean-Pierre Bouyxou Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (voice) Yes
Willy Braque Yes Yes
Catherine Castel Yes Yes Yes
Marie-Pierre Castel Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bernard Charnacé Yes Yes
Jean Cherlian Yes Yes
Mireille Dargent Yes Yes Yes Yes
Michel Delahaye Yes Yes
Michel Delesalle Yes Yes
Louise Dhour Yes Yes Yes
Dominique Yes Yes Yes
Michel Frank Yes Yes
Cyrille Gaudin Yes Yes
Frederique Haymann Yes Yes
Jean Hérel Yes Yes
Brigitte Lahaie Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Marie-Laurence Yes Yes Yes
Maurice Lemaître Yes Yes
Sabine Lenoël Yes Yes Yes
Fanny Magier Yes Yes
Jacques Marbeuf Yes Yes
Raphaël Marongiu Yes (uncredited)
Bernard Musson Yes Yes
Bernard Papineau Yes Yes
Nathalie Perrey Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jean-Loup Philippe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ursule Pauly Yes Yes
Jacques Robiolles Uncredited Yes
Olivier Rollin Yes Yes Yes Yes
Thomas Smith Yes Yes
Evelyne Thomas Yes Yes
Sandrine Thoquet Yes Yes
Dominique Treillou Yes Yes
Cyril Val Yes Yes


Further reading[edit]

  • Virgins & Vampires: Jean Rollin, Contains essays by Jean Rollin, edited by Peter Blumenstock; Includes CD soundtrack from Les Deux orphelines vampires – Limited edition of 300 copies, autographed by Jean Rollin (Crippled Publishing, 1997, ISBN 3-9805820-0-0)
  • Video Watchdog, Edition 31; Peter Blumenstock interviews Rollin (1995)
  • Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984 (1994) by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs – Dedicates a chapter to Rollin
  • Jean Rollin: cinéaste écrivain (2002) by Pascal Françaix (ABC Films Editions, ISBN 978-2-915160-05-5)


  1. ^ "Jean Rollin Biography, Film & Books". Myspace. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Jean Rollin Full Biography". Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Lawrence P. Raffel"The Rape of the Vampire (1968)". Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Simon Strong (March 2004) "Sous la páve, le pláge!: Lesbian Vampires Vs Situationist International". Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Lucius Gore"Shiver of the Vampires (1970)". Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ RIP Jean Rollin Fangoria, 16 December 2010

External links[edit]