31 Days of Horror Day 9 - "The Iron Rose" (1973)

French horror director Jean Rollin's films were often marred by studio imposed erotica from producers out to make a quick buck, but his masterpiece, The Iron Rose, is perhaps his purest work because it is the least tampered with.

The film centers around a young couple who goes for a walk in a cemetery and becomes hopelessly lost, unable to find their way out. As their panic grows, madness sets in, and Rollin's most surreal, least supernatural film reaches heights the director never would again. Containing none of his trademark vampires and few of his usual gratuitous sex scenes (save for an early tryst in a crypt), The Iron Rose is something truly special indeed. Rollin turns the cemetery into its own character, and while there is never anything lurking behind the headstones, no monsters, no ghosts, it is the cemetery itself that becomes so terrifying. Rollin lets the audience's mind fill in the blanks, and just as the couple becomes their own worst enemy, so too does the imagination of the viewer. It's a brilliant achievement, something wholly unique in the annals of horror, at once lyrical and terrifying. And now thanks to a fantastic new blu-ray set from Kino Lorber, Rollin's work lives again for a whole new generation to discover.


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