THE LIVING DEAD GIRL
(La Morte Vivante)
The Living Dead Girl is an interesting outing into zombie themes on Rollins part. Rollin had made some more traditional zombie films in the George A. Romero vein with Pesticide and Zombies Lake but this is an altogether different effort. As with most of Rollins films, The Living Dead Girl sits between interesting artistic pretensions and shoddy filmmaking. On one side, it is slow paced and has some terrible makeup effects that ruin the mood and leave you wondering just what the Rollin cult was all about.
Not too long in, one is prepared to start regarding The Living Dead Girl as a disappointment as not much seems to happen. The scenes with the revival of Francoise Blanchard come with some laughable over-the-top gore scenes with eyes being poked out, fingernails being jabbed in the throat and faces being melted by toxic waste that do not for a single moment convince because of the absurd cheapness of the gore effects. There is at least one good effects near the end of the film with a woman tied up in the crypt and Marina Pierro cutting her across the stomach to feed Francoise Blanchard, which seems alarmingly sadistic despite the obviousness of the fake blood.
However, once best friend Marina Pierro enters the scene, The Living Dead Girl picks up considerably. The peculiar friendship that grows between Pierro and the undead Francoise Blanchard gives the film a unique lyricism images of Marina Pierro cutting herself to feed Blanchard, her insistence that Blanchard can be brought back to life, Blanchards anguish at not being able to eat a pigeon, and particularly the subtle crossover that occurs throughout where the undead Francoise Blanchard becomes more human and expresses disgust at what she does while the human Marina Pierro becomes increasingly more extreme in what she will do to help her friend. There is a reasonable degree of suspense generated in scenes like where Marina Pierro lures the motorist back to the chateau and the woman gradually finds herself locked in. Eventually, one gets into Jean Rollins slow lyricism and the peculiarly touching friendship he presents for the ending to become a tragic one.