Blood and Roses (1960)

Blood and Roses (1960)

“The Karnsteins are not a naturally happy family.”

During a masquerade ball celebrating the upcoming wedding of her cousin (Mel Ferrer) and his fiancee (Elsa Martinelli), a young woman dressed in the clothing of her vampire-ancestor emerges from a fireworks display believing she has been possessed.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Flashback Films
  • Jealousy
  • Love Triangle
  • Roger Vadim Films
  • Vampires

Loosely based on the 1872 novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, Roger Vadim’s softcore vampire flick with lesbian overtones bears inevitable resemblance to Roy Ward Baker’s later cult adaptation for Hammer Films, The Vampire Lovers (1970). While the visuals in Vadim’s film are impressive (and deserve a digitalized upgrade), the storyline itself is overly simplistic: because we can predict from the beginning what will occur, there’s little narrative tension throughout. Instead, we simply wonder how long this trio of lovers-plus-hanger-on will maintain its tenuous status quo (not for long, it turns out). Ultimately, Blood and Roses will be of most interest — naturally — to fans of vampire flicks, as well as those curious to see Roger Vadim’s early work before his campy space opera Barbarella (1968).

Note: The dialogue about a swordfish and a sardine provides an unexpectedly silly interlude of bawdy humor.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Claude Renoir’s cinematography

  • Some memorable imagery

  • Joan Prodromides’ haunting score

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look for its cult status. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


2 thoughts on “Blood and Roses (1960)

  1. First viewing. …Skip it.

    A singularly dull and badly acted vampire flick – but, then, Vadim is among the worst of directors. This is just plain awful, and – at a mere 79 minutes – seemingly endless.

  2. I finally got to see the uncut French language version in it’s proper widescreen ratio (2.35:1) and it’s a gorgeously shot, well mounted treat. No world beater to be sure but still a good modern-set updating of Carmilla (1872).

Leave a Reply