Friday, 20 April 2018

Killing Car (4 Stars)

When I reviewed this film seven years ago I said that I couldn't recommend it because it's so unlike any of Jean Rollin's other films. Yesterday I read that it's considered to be a cult film, so I decided to give it another chance. I've never understood who gets to pick what's a cult film and what isn't, but obviously someone likes this film.

The film follows an unnamed woman who kills people and leaves a miniature car on their bodies. Her victims are seemingly unrelated: a junkyard owner, art thieves, a photographer and a nightclub owner. The police who investigate think they're random killings and label her as a psychopath. We, the viewers, see that the victims are carefully selected. The woman even invites the photographer to Paris from America, just so she can kill her. For the viewers the mystery is to figure out what the connection between the victims is.

What complicates the case for the police is the large number of victims who die as collateral damage. In the first scene the only person she intends to kill is the junkyard owner, but she doesn't hesitate to kill four prostitutes who were standing nearby and could possibly have identified her.

It's true, the film is unlike Jean Rollin's other films, in different ways. The typical beautiful scenery is missing. We don't have castles and beautiful meadows, we have junkyards, industrial dockyards and rundown areas in the Paris suburbs. Many scenes take place at night, which is unusual for Jean Rollin. There are no vampires or any other supernatural creatures in this film. It's almost a detective story, except that the viewers are told from the beginning who the killer is.

That doesn't make it a bad film. It just means it's not a Rollinesque film. My relatively poor rating in my last review was the result of me comparing it with Jean Rollin's other films. I penalised it for being too dissimilar to his earlier films. I was wrong. I should have praised him for having the courage to try something new.

My readers are probably wondering who the hauntingly beautiful woman is who plays the savage serial killer. I'm wondering the same thing. Her name is Tiki Tsang. She was born in Australia in 1968 and emigrated to France when she was 18 to become a model. "Killing Car" was her first ever film. She was given the leading role, which looked like the beginning of a big career. No, it wasn't to be. She never acted again. It was her first and last film. I'm sure there's an untold story somewhere.

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