A Virgin Among the Living Dead has an interesting story and after viewing what I thought was the complete film I’ve since discovered what I watched was a re-released butchered version. One that includes added zombie scenes, removal of most of the softcore porn and an English dub.
Admittedly while watching it, I did wonder why it didn’t feel like a traditional Jesus Franco film. Him being famous for his erotic horror. Originally released in 1973, it was later re-cut and re-released in 1981 as a zombie movie. You can pick up Franco’s original cut now on DVD but for the purpose of this review, it is the zombie 1981 movie we watched.
The movie stars Christina von Blanc as Christina Benson, a young woman who has arrived at her estranged relatives castle home for a reading of her dead father’s will. She is nervous and excited to meet her family but is disturbed by their strange ways.
The movie takes on a dream-like quality as the lines between what is real and what is not get fuzzy. Although she often feels out of place, Christina makes the decision to stay with her family after the will reading passes the castle to her. This turns out to be a mistake though as her family reveal themselves to be undead. Then we get zombies, the kind that you’d expect to see in a Romero movie. Yes, it makes very little sense but not much does throughout its slow run-time.
You see while A Virgin Among the Living Dead has some great gothic imagery, some ghoulish effects and a fairly well written story, it is a slow movie. It drags and drags to the point where time seems to stop not just for Christina but us as well.
The film tries to break things up with nudity and softcore sex scenes but the version I watched was very tame compared to what else is out there. To be fair, I could happily do without a 5-minute orgy scene though.
It’s said that this is one of Franco’s personal favourites and it’s easy to see why as it has a little more class then many of his flicks do. Even with the butcher’s job of making it a zombie movie, you can see there was a lot of love and effort put in. While the walking dead do add a bit more ‘horror’ to proceedings, it’s so obviously jammed in and out of place, it is stupid.
A Virgin Among the Living Dead