A Virgin Among the Living Dead

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A Virgin Among the Living Dead
Directed by Jesús Franco
Produced by
  • Franco Gaudenzi
  • Marius Lesoeur
Written by Jesús Franco
Starring
Production
company
Brux International Pictures
Distributed by Andrés Salvador Molina
Release date
  • 1973 (1973)
Running time
78 minutes
Country
  • Spain
  • France
Language French

A Virgin Among the Living Dead is a 1973 Spanish-French[1] erotic horror film directed by Jesus Franco, released two years after it was completed.[2] It was later recut with extra footage and re-distributed to theaters in 1981 as a zombie film.[3] It has since been restored on DVD to Franco's original director's cut.

Franco shot the film in 1971 in Portugal[4], where he said he had the full cooperation of the local authorities and total license to film the nude scenes.[5] Franco stated in interviews that this was one of his favorite films because he felt the plot was "so imaginative and interesting", the actors were so enthusiastic to work with him and it was made at a very happy time in his life. [6] Franco himself played a co-starring role in this film as a mindless cretin named Basilio who walks the corridors talking in gibberish to a severed chicken's head.

According to Franco, the original shooting title of the film was The Night of the Shooting Stars (La nuit des étoiles filantes).[7] It was released in France, however, in 1973 as Christina, Princess of Eroticism, and in Italy in 1978 as The Erotic Dreams of Christine; both versions contained new porn inserts featuring Alice Arno added to the film. Franco was not involved in filming the padded sex scenes.

Producer Marius Lesoeur later had horror director Jean Rollin direct some newly filmed zombie footage that was added to Franco's film for its 1981 re-release, under the new title A Virgin Among the Living Dead. At this time, the English dub was also recorded and the Arno porn footage was taken out. The film was later released on DVD with the 1981 Rollin zombie footage removed, the way Franco originally shot it, but the film's title has always remained A Virgin Among the Living Dead, a title which Franco abhorred.[8]

Plot[edit]

A woman arrives from England to visit her estranged relatives in a small castle for the reading of her dead father's will. She eventually discovers that they are all undead, and her decision to live with them turns into a nightmare. She learns that the Queen of the Night has claimed her father's eternal soul because he had committed suicide.

Cast[edit]

  • Christina von Blanc as Christina Benson
  • Britt Nichols as Carmencé (as Britt Nickols)
  • Rosa Palomar as Aunt Abigail
  • Anne Libert as The Queen of the Night
  • Howard Vernon as Uncle Howard
  • Paul Muller as Ernesto Pablo Reiner, Christina's father
  • Jesús Franco as Basilio (as Jesús Manera)
  • Nicole Guettard as Female Doctor (as Nicole Franco)
  • Alice Arno as Princess of Eroticism (erotic inserts only)

Home media releases[edit]

The film was first released on VHS in the United States as A Virgin Among the Living Dead by Wizard Video, with the added Rollin zombie footage included.[9]

The film was released on DVD in the United States by Image Entertainment in 2003 as part of their EuroShock horror line.[10] The DVD still contained the 1981 Rollin zombie footage.

On August 20, 2013, a Blu-ray edition, containing both cuts, was made available by Redemption.[11]

Alternative titles include: A comme apocalypse; Among the Living Dead; Christina chez les morts vivants; Christina, princesse de l'erotisme; Christina, Sex Princess; La nuit des etoiles filantes; Los suenos eroticos de Christine; and Zombie 4[1]

Reception[edit]

Richard Whittaker of The Austin Chronicle called it "one of the most infamously mutilated underground favorites", and said the original Franco version is the best cut of the film.[12] Chris Alexander of Fangoria called the original Franco cut "a loose, atmospheric masterpiece of pure cinema".[13] Gordon Sullivan of DVD Verdict wrote that the Kino-Redemption release is "a triumph for Franco fans, though unlikely to appeal outside that demographic".[14] Bill Gibron of DVD Talk rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a truly unnerving experience representing Franco at his most visually arresting".[15] Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle called it "an atrophied psychological horror, which is over-stylish and impressionistic to the point of incoherence".[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 128–129. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6. 
  2. ^ Thrower,Stephen (2015). Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco. Strange Attractor Press. p. 428
  3. ^ Thrower,Stephen (2015). Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco. Strange Attractor Press. p. 428
  4. ^ Alexander, Chris (2013-08-20). "Jess Franco's "A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD" (Blu-ray Review)". Fangoria. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  5. ^ Thrower,Stephen (2015). Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco. Strange Attractor Press.
  6. ^ Blumberg, Arnold (2006). Zombiemania. Telos Publishing. ISBN 9781845838171. 
  7. ^ "BIFFF 20". DevilDead.com. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  8. ^ Blumberg, Arnold (2006). Zombiemania. Telos Publishing. ISBN 9781845838171. 
  9. ^ Alexander, Chris (2013-12-09). "EXCLUSIVE: Charles Band Announces Wizard Studios". Fangoria. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  10. ^ Blumberg, Arnold (2006). Zombiemania. Telos Publishing. ISBN 9781845838171. 
  11. ^ "Kino Lorber and Redemption Release Jess Franco's A Virgin Among the Living Dead, Nightmares Come at Night, and The Awful Dr. Orlof on Blu-ray and DVD" (Press release). New York City, NY: Kino Lorber. 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  12. ^ Whittaker, Richard (2013-08-25). "DVDanger: 'Alyce Kills'/'A Virgin Among the Living Dead'". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  13. ^ Alexander, Chris (2013-08-20). "Jess Franco's "A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD" (Blu-ray Review)". Fangoria. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Gordon (2013-08-13). "A Virgin Among the Living Dead (Blu-ray)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  15. ^ Gibron, Bill (2013-09-17). "A Virgin Among The Living Dead: Remastered Edition". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]