Night of the Hunted (1980)
Directed by Jean Rollin

Starring Bernard Papineau Brigitte Lahaie Dominique Journet Rachel Mhas Vincent Gardère

When Rollin sucks, he sucks, and that's exactly what he's doing here with this awkward paranoia fest starring French ex-porn star Brigitte Lahaie and a role that naturally requires her to disrobe as much as the plot will allow.

It's always a treat to have a beautiful and voluptuous blonde disrobe on your TV (even if she can't speak English), but it's something Rollin falls back too much on, because he seems to know the material he's filming just doesn't cut it. Generally speaking, Rollin is a great vampire filmmaker. He's had some excellent non-vampire films, most notably the classic "Grapes of Death," but this certainly isn't one of them. If "Grapes" was inspired by the films of George Romero, this one is clearly fashioned after the work of David Cronenberg. But it does not work.

Lahaie is an amnesiac hitchhiker who can't remember who she is or where she came from. Most of the film takes place in (what at the time was) an ultra-modern apartment complex, not unlike the one in Cronenberg's "Shivers," where Lahaie is being held by some kind of medical group that's treating a number of people with a similar condition.

After escaping from the asylum/apartment complex, Lahaie is rescued by a young man in Paris, as eager to get into her pants as any heterosexual guy would be. Needless to say, he gets in there, but she's swept away by doctors from her former nuthouse/home. Before escaping again, she finds her friend lying dead -- nude with a pair of scissors in her eye.

The film is hampered by its super-low budget. Apparently Rollin shot it in an apartment complex for financial reasons. While a lack of currency hasn't stopped Rollin from making excellent vampire films, when he operates outside that element his films can seem very constrained if they don’t have enough cash behind them. "Grapes of Death" had a pretty sizeable budget for a Rollin film (at least, that's what I understand), "Night of the Hunted" didn't , and it shows.

Not worth catching unless you want to see the forerunner of the "Friday the 13th Part 5" sheers in the eye killing or want to see a lot of naked French females. And who doesn't?

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


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