02 June 2006

Horse Tears

Spirits of the Dead (Histoires extraordinaires): Metzengerstein - dir. Roger Vadim - 1968 - France/Italy

You would bet your bottom dollar that a premise like the one in the Roger Vadim segment of Spirits of the Dead would have been nothing but sheer brilliance. Jane Fonda stars as a decadent, cunty princess whose taste for pansexual orgies and jewels is only matched by her brittle coldness. She makes advances toward a farm boy (played by her brother (!) Peter) who rejects her, thus forcing Princess Jane to order his death. What happens next, you ask? Well, naturally, Peter Fonda's spirit inhabits a horse that proceeds to stalk Jane Fonda's castle. A fucking horse! This all sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, you're right. Vadim has always set his films up to be gloriously campy, especially Barbarella, but he always forgets the "glorious" part. Instead, both his segment in Spirits of the Dead and Barbarella are about as sharp as a plastic spork and as fun as a root canal. The rest of the series is worth seeing, mainly for seeing Alain Delon slap a brunette Brigitte Bardot in the face in Louis Malle's, and for the entirely brilliant Fellini segment Toby Dammit, starring Terence Stamp.

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