Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay (1971)
aka … Morgane et ses nymphes.
From director Bruno Gantillon comes a vampire like tale that appears to borrow heavily from the first third of Bram Stoker’s classic novel of 1897. With a pre-credit sequence featuring some nudity for the drive-in crowd (plenty more to come) the credits roll with a spunky soundtrack as two young women are travelling by car across country. Like Jonathan Harker they’ll stop by an inn that looks as if it’s from an earlier century crowded with aging men with weathered faces. No Michael Ripper wasn’t the bar keep but the actor who serves them a drink suggests they go back from where they came.
Note the creepy looking dwarf from the opening pre-credit sequence eyeing up our attractive young travelers.
The gals played by Mireille Saunin and Michele Perello continue their journey to no avail. They’ll find themselves stranded in the dark of night minus gasoline seeking refuge in a barn. Thankfully there’s a hay loft for some gentle petting. Morning arrives and Miss Saunin has no idea where her traveling mate has gone. Not to worry because that creepy dwarf played by Alfred Baillou is on hand to lead her to Miss Perello. Wisely the producers utilized the Chateau de Val where a large portion of the film’s exteriors were shot. The chateau is a perfect substitute for Castle Dracula in our story.
Awaiting Saunin at the castle are three brides. Just like in Stoker’s version. Now before we’re to meet our title character our demented dwarf takes his pleasures by having the three brides in colorful negligees engage in some sensual petting. And while he’s not snatching flies and wishing for a kitty cat, his character is most assuredly inspired by Stoker’s Renfield. Now that we’ve had a pleasurable romp it’s time for Morgana to make her grand entrance as played by Dominique Delpierre. Perhaps the three brides should give Saunin a sponge bath so she can be appropriately attired and looking beautiful for their Mistress.
The topic of immortality is prevalent as Morgana attempts to win over Saunin with stories of remaining young and beautiful as opposed to growing old and haggard like the crones that live in the castle dungeon. These are the women who have rejected Morgana who now live below as if they are in a bottomless pit of hell. On the other hand there is a section below that is lined with beautiful women. A harem for the Mistress. If not a harem then how about an all girl hippie commune. One that allows for plenty of sensual dancing and petting of breasts. No this isn’t an outright porno film but one of those French efforts that plays like a vampiric tale from Jean Rollin with a more linear script. Morgana is less dreamy than Rollin yet still takes place in a parallel universe.
Jealousy is going to rear it’s ugly head when our three brides are worried that Morgana is favoring her new flavor of the month resulting in the brides receiving less one on one time with their Mistress. And what of our dwarf who longs to be held by Morgana as well? Might he prove to be a savior to Saunin who wants to abandon Morgana and the castle walls? By disclosing three all important talismans he’ll allow her the chance for freedom. Sadly it may prove dangerous to his own well being.
So is this vampire like tale any good even though there’s not a drop of blood or razor sharp fangs to be seen? I guess that depends on what one is looking for. No doubt you’ll love it if you’re into those early 70’s tales of vampires and lesbians. Yeah I guess I am considering I love the Karnstein trilogy from Hammer. On the flip side of that comment this film stops dead in it’s tracks to take a 12 minute interlude of females doing ballet in see through outfits while some engage in a very carefully filmed orgy. I guess for the drive-in crowd it’s a necessity but does absolutely nothing in advancing the plot of this 86 minute art house adventure for the drive-in crowd.
Morgana may tread similar ground as those Rollin features that strive for an art house feel or plenty of those Jess Franco low budget zoom lens efforts but does so with a much surer hand though all three directors employ a fare bit of nudity in the proceedings. Delpierre in the title role really calls to mind Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory in the outstanding 1971 vampire tale, Daughters of Darkness. A film that I would highly recommend to those unaware of it’s existence.
The Chateau de Val is an authentic fourteenth century castle where the film was shot and has since morphed into a tourist location in France that looks picturesque and should I ever venture overseas to the country I’ll do my best to take in the castle and it’s beautiful surroundings. For more on the castle here’s a link to learn more. If you’ve actually been there please share your experience below.
As a fan of horror and the many tales of vampirism that hit the screens in overdrive during the 70’s, the Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay is a good fit in the subgenre of lesbian vampires and worth tracking down for like minded fans. I believe it’s available in an uncut print via Mondo Macabro on blu ray and turned up in a surprisingly good transfer via a DVD release compliments of Cheezy Flicks for far less money which I pulled from a bargain bin in a neighborhood mall I venture into on occasion.