The Iron Rose is the fifth feature length film directed by the French auteur who created among the first of the X-rated genre and gore film within his country of France. With most of his film entwining vampirism and erotic elements, The Iron Rose is a detachment from the formula of his normal vampire films and is treading more on territory paved by Jodorowsky's Fando y Lis. The theme of The Iron Rose will later be taken and given a highly controversial subtext of pedophilia and retitled Maladolescenza.
Young lovers escape into a graveyard at night for passionate adventures and love making sessions. In the midst of their heated moments, night breaks and they are lost within the walls of the cemetery. As the night bleeds more, their character's explode into a frenzy, prompting many violent situations, running, and surrealist scenes of gravestones at night. Wrapping up with a truly poetic final scene, The Iron Rose is sincere and disquieting but completely illogical. Many of the fairytale situations encountered by the incredibly lovely Françoise Pascal and the Crispin Glover lookalike Hugues Quester could have been avoided had common sense been employed.
Rule of thumb: If you're lost within a walled establishment, walk till you reach the wall, then follow the wall until you reach the exit. Rather than ending the film properly, and on a happy note for that matter, Rollin decided to make his characters appear mentally handicapped in their quest for escape. I haven't explored much of Rollin's filmography but I hope his Fantastique cinema offerings conjure up some logic and sense rather than embarrassing and frustrating me.
As I mentioned, the formula was perfected both in the past and the future by Fando y Lis and Maladolescenza. These films come highly recommended over this one. The Iron Rose does feature the ravishing Miss Pascal dance around in the nude but after her frequent outbursts of childlike screaming, the aforementioned scenes become anti-titillating and disappointing. The Iron Rose is your generic French arthouse fare but this is dressed up more like a midnight movie than artistic impressionism. If you can manage to discover this, the most misstreated film in his oeuvre, you'd be minded the give it a chance.