Jean Rollin – Phantasmes AKA The Seduction Of Amy (1975)
Jean Rollin was one of a select group of European filmmakers (including Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jose Larraz, Walerian Borowzyx,and–some would say–Jesus Franco) who used the horror/sexploitation genre as a means to make arty and/or personal low-budget films. But by the mid 1970’s all the sexploitation directors like Rollin had to compete with the burgeoning hardcore porn industry, and he at least decided that if he couldn’t beat them he was going to join them. Rollin was, of course, far more talented than your average porno hack, but it is virtually impossible to make a good hardcore porn movie given the extreme limitations of the genre–i.e. a very low budget, a very short shooting schedule, a complete lack of professional acting talent, and the need to include one long sex scene after another, which inevitably does in any attempt at story, pace, or character development. Naturally, this is not nearly as good as Rollin’s more legitimate horror/exploitation work, but it is certainly better than your average hardcore sex flick.
A man owns a château. He meets various women and “shows them around his château”. He seems to be holding many more women as prisoners–or perhaps they’re ghosts? Other people show up, including some men, and weird Gothic-style orgies ensue. Characters appear and disappear freely as the movie becomes increasingly nonsensical.
Marie-Pierre Castel, who was in a lot of Rollin’s vastly superior vampire movies, shows up at one of the orgies with her identical twin sister, Catherine. They are both dressed as Catholic schoolgirls. They peel off each other’s panties and spank each for some reason. Then they have three-way sex scenes with various guys. This–and what little remains of Rollin’s interesting signature style here–is the best (and perhaps only conceivable) reason to watch this movie. Other of the more attractive and talented Rollin’s regulars–like Joelle Coeur, Mirelle D’Argent, Francoise Pascal, or Annie Belle–never participated in these kind of films. Brigitte Lahaie was a hardcore porn actress during this period, but she really only worked with Rollin years later on more legitimate (and far better) stuff. I wouldn’t really recommend this to Rollin’s fans, and I don’t really know whether hardcore porn fans would really be interested in something this unconventional and weird.