Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Little Orphan Vampires – review

Author: Jean Rollin

Translator: Peter Tombs

First Published: 1993 (French edition), 1995 (translation)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Little Orphan Vampires is written by film director Jean Rollin. Rollin specialises in surreal and sexual interpretations of the vampire legend. The macabre story of two blind orphan girls who embark on a series of sexually explicit killings in order to satiate their bloodlust has just been made into a feature length film by Rollin.

The photographs reproduced in this book have been provided by Rollin and are reproduced here for the first time.

The review: This is the first of a short series of books that jean Rollin wrote, though the only one that was translated into English, as far as I am aware at least. The film Two Orphan Vampires was based on the series and the first thing I noted was that the events in the film and the book do not all marry up. We do start in an orphanage, we do have Henriette and Louise – vampires who are blind by day – and they are adopted and taken to Paris by eye doctor Dennary. However the events in the film – meeting She Wolf, Ghoul and Midnight Lady do not take place. Nor is there the flashback to New York – perhaps these scenes were in further volumes?

There are scenes, however, that was not in the film – such as an Aztec flashback, which was a satisfying scene in the story.

In the introduction Peter Tombs admires the fairy-tale quality of Rollin’s works, and this really does have that fairy-tale quality in spades. The book is, however, somewhat short and quite simple in a prose sense (that may have something to do with the translation or be the style of the book in French, of course). However for fans of the film, or Rollin fans generally, this is an excellent little find. 6 out of 10.


Holly said...

Thanks for the review! I am reading this book currently and just finished the chapter about the Aztec sacrifice flashback. The way Rollin wrote that scene really made me feel that I was there with the two orphan vampires, covered in blood, eating still beating hearts and bringing the crowd watching to a frenzied ecstasy. The erotic twist at the end makes it even more powerful and unsettling--good stuff! I agree that Rollin's writing style gives this story a fairy tale quality, and the refrain of "clack clack clack clack went the white sticks" they he returns to again and again is a nice touch. I really wish that the other titles in this series would be translated into English! Rollin had an interesting vision here, and it is something that I'd like to see explored further.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

thanks Holly - it is sad, but not surprising, that the Aztec section wasn't filmed as set out in the book, and I agree, I wish the rest of the series were available in English