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Help Me. I’m Evil.1

Jean Rollin. La Morte Vivante. (1982): 01:05:38 - 01:05:46

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The above clip comes from a French film wherein the blonde half of a childhood Boston marriage is reanimated by toxic fumes emitted from a barrel illegally dumped in a castle’s underground vault and which topples during a temblor.

Besides finding this snippet of dialogue funny enough to share, I also would like to note that Catherine Valmont’s (Françoise Blanchard) reanimated corpse is probably the most conventionally pretty zombie in cinematic history. end of article

20070626 12:59:34


I was perplexed and amused by the dialogue in the scene above. I wanted to transcribe the quote, and the best I could come up with (assisted by Harrar’s and translation.google) is Aide moi. J’ai mal whose literal translation into English is “Help me. I have bad/ness.”

I asked Tom who speaks French (but who, alas, has no web presence to speak of) about my transcription of J’ai mal, which I could not verify translates to “I’m evil.” He tells me that the idiomatic English is “Help me. I’m sick.” That the translators for this DVD release interpret J’ai mal as “I’m evil” as opposed to “I’m sick” has ramifications for the meaning of the film, especially since the theme of being ill—of reanimation/lesbianism as disease—is repeated several times in the film’s last fifteen minutes.

Morte Vivante, La. 1982. Dir. Jean Rolllin.
1 When I initially posted this, I was uncertain about the translation.