Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay
Director - Bruno Gantillion
Cast - Dominique Delpierre, Alfred Baillou
Country of Origin - France
Distributor - Mondo Macabro
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
Date - 03/13/13
The Film (4/5)
Two friends Anna and Francoise are taking a road trip through the French countryside when they predictably find themselves lost and out of gas. It is a cold night, and they are nearby a farm, so they decide to spend the night in the stables. The next morning Francoise awakens and discovers Anna missing. She immediately begins searching, and is soon guided to the castle of Morgane, by Gurth her servant.
Morgane, may be Queen of the fairies or as the title implies the witch Morgana Le Fay from the Arthurian myths. She currently uses her assistant Gurth to lure young women to her castle, and offers them a deal. In exchange for their souls she will give them Eternal Life and Beauty, if the offer is rejected they will be forced to live in the dungeons with the old crones, and be forced to age and die.
Anna reluctantly takes Morgane’s offer of eternal youth, however, for reasons never explained Morgane takes a special interest in Francoise. She never forces Francoise to accept her devilish pact for her soul, but rather offers her the same offer for what seemingly amounts to eternal companionship. The only problem is Francoise does not want to accept Morgane’s offer. With the assistance of 3 of the Morgane’s trusted slaves, and her assistant Gurth who are jealous of the attention Francoise has been receiving Francoise might just be able to escape the realm of Morgane, and live a normal life.
By 1971 the French Fantastic-Horror director Jean Rollin had only directed a handful of feature films. Rape of the Vampire had come out in 1968 and had allegedly not fared very well theatrically in his native France, and in 1970 he followed it up with the Nude Vampire. In 1971 he released both Shivers and Requiem for the Vampire. You may wonder why I am bringing up the early films of Jean Rollin in a review of the Girl Slaves of Morgana Lefay, and the simple reason is that this film greatly channels the atmosphere of a Jean Rollin film. It is understood that great, and popular films tend to inspire imitation, but by this point in the game was this imitation of the bourgeoning Rollin style, or just a coincidental adoption of a similar style to Rollin's work?
That little aside, the Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay truly stands on it's own as a piece of wonderful French erotic, fantastic cinema. Some viewers might not gel with it's slow atmospheric pacing, but I personally found myself hypnotized throughout the films running time. As stated earlier the direction of Bruno Gantillion does bare a striking resemblance to that of Rollin, if you have ever seen any of Rollin's 70's output you should know what to expect lingering long takes that allow the film to unfold at it's own leisurely pace.
The performances across the board are quite solid, but special mention should be made of Dominique Delpierre as Morgane herself. She brings a special charisma and heir of aristocracy that just flows from her very presence on-screen. The performances from Mireille Saunin as Francoise, and also the 3 of Morgane’s primary slaves are also quite good for the material, especially when contrast against the other "slave women" in the film.
The film doesn't have too much going on in the story department, and if forced into a category would be woman in danger goes on the run sort of flick. That being said The Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay does not feel like a film about the story, but about the atmosphere, and the overall style of the film. The Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay is not a very deep film, but it is a very beautiful and intriguing one.
Mondo Macabro brings Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay to DVD in a very nice 1:66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As is the usual with Mondo Macabro's work the transfer on this disc is very good looking with exceptional detail, nice colors, solid blacks, and a decent grain structure. The only minor issue I can find with the transfer is some softness throughout, and this is probably production related.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in French with Optional English subtitles. As with the video the audio sounds quite excellent dialogue is easily discernible throughout the feature. The music and sound effects are mixed well, and nothing drowns out any other elements. I did not detect any instances of pops,cracks, or hissing on the track.
Mondo Macabro have put together a nice package together for their release of Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay. The disc kicks off with an interview with the director about the film. Also, included is a short film by the director called "An Artistic Couple". This is followed up with Deleted Scenes from the film and a trailer. The disc is rounded off by a text based essay going into the background of the film, a still and poster gallery, and previews for other Mondo Macabro titles.
Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay is an absolute cinematic treat. It is a wonderful atmospheric slice of French erotic fantastic cinema. The A/V restoration by Mondo Macabro is phenomenal, and they have put together a nice slate of extras on the DVD. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.