Fascination (1979)
Directed by Jean Rollin

Starring Brigitte Lahaie Fanny Magier Franca Mai Jean-Marie Lemaire Muriel Montossť

This chilling Rollin effort isn't his best, but it's a solid offering from France's leading horror director. The weakest part is the awkward, amateurish opening, where a thief (Jean-Marie Lemaire) enrages a group of fellow criminals and suddenly finds himself on the run for his life. He stumbles upon a chateau, apparently inhabited only by two gorgeous lesbians (Mai and Rollin regular Lahaie, who also happens to be a famous blonde porn star in France), who alternately seem repelled by him, then attracted.

The two women seem to take a liking to him, and the charming thief finally has hot sex with Lahaie. But they seem to be up to something, constantly referring to visitors they plan to have over for a ritual that evening. The thief asks who's coming over. "Death," one of the women says. But addicted to the poontang he's been getting, Lemaire sticks around. I won't spoil the rest for you. Needless to say, the suspense builds slowly but nicely.

Like any quality Rollin film, "Fascination" features lush cinematography, gorgeous French landscapes, and a chilling atmosphere that makes even the best of American horror films look like direct-to-video schlock. If his films weren't subtitled, there's little doubt they would be huge in the U.S. "Fascination" only has one weak point, at the beginning where Rollin's super-low budget becomes evident in a contrived and unbelievable chase scene.

A little too talky for virgins of the Rollin experience, "Fascination" will appeal to those who have already grown to love his work. It's not for those who haven't seen one or two of his features before. It boasts much more sex than he usually injects in his films, and at times there's so much of it that it actually detracts from the story. But that's show business. Best scene: porno queen Lahaie goes ballistic with a scythe.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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