FREAKSHOW The Night Of The Hunted

Join us every Monday, as we look at a cult movie. Our film of the week this time is an eerie tale of memory loss

1980
Director: Jean Rollin
Cast: Brigitte Lahaie, Vincent Gardère, Dominique Journet, Bernard Papineau
Available on all-region and region two DVD
Watch the trailer here:

This zombie-less zombie film has many flaws. The sketchy storyline feels like it was made up on the hoof. It was clearly made on the cheap, and some of the acting is barely worthy of the verb. But the late cult French auteur Jean Rollin was incapable of making an unmemorable film.

It begins with a mystery: who is the amnesiac beauty in a nightgown who runs in front of a guy’s car? Later, as the damsel in distress is returned to the high rise from which she’s escaped, it develops into a French spin on early David Cronenberg classic Shivers. The inhabitants wander the gleaming corridors of this circle of Hell like lab rats, dead but not dead, driven to random killings by their anxiety.

This Alzheimer’s nightmare has an uncanny, downbeat atmosphere that can’t be dissipated, even by the comical regularity with which Rollin’s stars disrobe, or some crude scissors-in-eyes gore: these are the dirty bargains an artist must make to gain financing. Despite the bombardment of bare breasts, it’s the poetic dialogue (“I want to die with each breath, so I will never forget you”) and the existential dread that linger in the memory.

Ian Berriman, reviews editor of SFX and cult movie nut, has watched Rat Pfink A Boo Boo four or five times, but never seen On The Waterfront. The nutter.

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