‘La Morte Vivante‘ (1982) is a French horror film written and directed by Jean Rollin. The film has also been released under the English title ‘The Living Dead Girl‘.
‘La Morte Vivante‘ has an intriguing plot – a girl is resurrected from the dead when two thieves break into a crypt trying to dump some toxic industrial waste. The girl needs blood to survive and kills the thieves and wanders out of the crypt. Her vague memories of her previous life lead her home and she starts hanging around her old house. She continues to kill in order to feed her blood-lust, but as the film progresses she becomes more and more aware of her humanity and realizes that she is in limbo, and acting like a monster.
Despite the interesting plot premise, this film fails to fully capitalise on its potential and wanders too far into exploitation territory, and some sloppy acting and production erodes the impact of the movie.
Gore fans will be happy though, this is a brutal film where the camera doesn’t shy away from the blood and guts. An interesting and flawed gem.
The soundtrack for ‘La Morte Vivante’ was composed by Philippe D’Aram .
Philippe D’Aram made his name in movie circles between the late 70s and early 80s, and his first soundtrack that he composed was for Les Héroïnes du mal (1979), a French erotic drama.
He then went on to compose the soundtrack for ‘Fascination‘ (1979), a dreamlike vampire film by Jean Rollin. Philippe D’Aram’s work on ‘Fascination‘ is quite remarkable and forward thinking for a horror score – much of the score involves moments of electronically manipulated tones and prolonged sounds like someone playing a saw. Kind of beautiful and sad at the same time. The soundtrack also features electronically processed choral sounds and drones that sound like an early precursor to modern drone bands like ‘Stars of the Lid’.
Philippe D’Aram’s relationship with Jean Rollin continued and he was invited to create the score ‘La Morte vivante‘.
D’Aram’s soundtrack for ‘La Morte vivante‘ is in a similar vein to his work on ‘Fascination’ and it feels like a natural extension (which is no bad thing). The score is primarily synthesizer based and features slow moving and eerie drone compositions, melancholic violins and cellos, and one guitar and synth based track.
Even when Jean Rollin wasn’t on top form, his films always contained a dream-like atmosphere, and the soundtrack for ‘La Morte vivante‘ is a perfect accompaniment. The soundtrack is like listening in on another dimension, one that is like ours, but utterly alien at the same time.
The soundtrack is relatively short and hasn’t had a dedicated commercial release of its own, however it has been released on a compilation that collected various soundtracks for a number of Jean Rollin films together. It was called ‘The films of Jean Rollin‘ and was released in 1994 on Lucertola Media records, and also included the soundtrack for ‘Fascination‘.
The cover art and the track list for the soundtrack of ‘La Morte vivante‘ can be seen below:
1. La morte vivante (3:18)
2. La découverte des caveaux (2:53)
3. La boite à musique (1:28)
4. Frottements (1:31)
5. Dans la crypte (1:19)
6. Le bal – slow (3:24)
7. Le suicide (1:45)
The soundtrack was also included on a bonus disc that came with a 2005 collector’s edition DVD release for the film (the artwork of this can be seen at the top of the page).
The soundtrack is not easy to get hold of these days, but you can listen to this haunting and atmospheric score below: