From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Brigitte Van Meerhaegue (aka Brigitte Lahaie) was born on the 12th of October 1955 in the French town of Tourcoing. Her parents were middle-class and her upbringing strict. After graduating from school age 19 Brigitte and her sister Annette moved to Paris looking for excitement and adventure. Brigitte hoped to earn a living as a model but to make ends meet took a job in a shoe shop.
Answering an advert for models in a magazine Brigitte found herself unexpectedly on the set of a pornographic movie. Hardcore porn had recently been legalised in France and a handful of maverick filmmakers saw this as an opportunity to rebel against bourgeois notions of morality. Excited by what she saw, Brigitte was suddenly seduced by this counter culture movement and her uninhibited sensuality found free expression in this tide of liberalisation.
Respectful of the fact that some members of her family did not share her spirited ideas about sexual exhibitionism she changed her name to Lahaie and between 1976 and 1980 proceeded to fuck her way through dozens of films. She has since described appearing in pornographic films as a kind of personal revolution. During this period Lahaie’s sexual behaviour off screen was often as uninhibited as her performances on screen as she embraced with a passion Paris’ swingin’ nightlife. Ooh La Lahie.
In 1976 she was cast in a porno movie called ‘Vibrations Sensuelles’ directed by cult horror auteur Jean Rollin. Directing hardcore was for romantic aesthete Rollin what working in a shoe shop had been for Lahaie however the 2 became good friends. Rollin would go on to cast Lahaie in a number of his horror pictures including The Grapes of Death, ‘The Escapees’ and Night of the Hunted. The scene in Rollin’s ‘Fascination’ where Lahaie pursues a victim while draped in a long black cloak and brandishing a scythe makes for one of the most iconic images in European horror movie history.
Another peculiar cult movie auteur who the lovely Lahaie made an impression on was irascible Spaniard Jess Franco. Lahaie first ‘put out’ for Franco on the set of a sex film called ‘Je Brule De Partout’ in 1978 but she worked with him again almost a decade later playing clothed roles in the rarely seen thriller ‘Dark Mission’ and the ultra gruesome ‘Faceless’.
In 1980, aged 25, Lahaie quit performing in hardcore movies but continued to display her natural assets in softer sex fare. Among these softcore romps were such titillating titles as 1981’s ‘Paul Raymond’s Erotica’ and 1983’s ‘Education Anglaise’. She also appeared in a handful of films for Swiss exploitation producer/director, and Franco collaborator, Erwin Dietrich including High Test Girls, ‘Secrets Of A French Maid’ and the abundantly nude women-in-prison flick ‘Caged Women’.
In 1987 Lahaie became the host of a radio talk show in France where she offered members of the public advice on their sexual problems, although watching a few of her movies is good enough medicine for the rest of us. The same year she published the 1st volume of her autobiography ‘Moi, La Scandaleus’. The book was a big success so Lahaie followed it with another, a novel this time, which again proved successful enough to demand a follow up. She soon found herself in demand as both an author and as a television and radio personality.
Her film work did not end there however. She re-teamed with Rollin for 1997’s ‘Two Orphan Vampires’ and 2002’s ‘Fiancée Of Dracula’ and her continued cult status among Euro-horror fans was re-affirmed in 2004 when she popped up in Fabrice Du Welz’s awesomely creepy ‘Calvaire’ (aka The Ordeal).
In 2001 she returned to the wild world of porn, this time behind the camera, writing, producing and directing ‘Ma Sexualite de A a X’.
Brigitte Lahaie maintains that she has no regrets about any part of her long and varied career spent in the public eye. And why should she? In interviews she comes across as proud, romantic, independent, intelligent and, perhaps most importantly, happy to be who she is. Her many achievements owe much to the anti-establishment attitude that fuelled her youthful passions and her continued dignity is a further poke in the eye for the prudes who think that such unfettered lust for life should be punished in some way.
Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.