Daughters of Darkness (1971) 1080p

Movie Poster
Daughters of Darkness (1971) 1080p bluray - Movie Poster
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 5.1  
Run Time:
87 min
IMDB Rating:
6.6 / 10 
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Directors: Harry Kümel [Director] ,

Movie Description:
A chic, good-looking and suitably 70's couple arrive at an extravagant and deserted seaside hotel after eloping. Stefan is wealthy and happily English, with a hidden streak of sadism, while Valarie is intelligent but of inferior (Swedish) blood. To keep her with him at the eerie hotel he lies consistantly about his relationship with his mother and his plans to tell her of their marriage. Meanwhile he has mysterious phone conversations with an older, dominant and pampered sissy. Two fresh guests arrive; the Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Bathory and her voluptuous protege, Ilona. Virgin corpses begin showing up about the city drained of their blood. A wary detective lurks around the hotel taunting his only suspect, the Countess.


  • Daughters of Darkness (1971) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 1
  • Daughters of Darkness (1971) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 2
  • Daughters of Darkness (1971) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 1

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Sexy and Haunting

I'll admit to not being the biggest vampire movie fan, but Daughters of Darkness just hit all the right spots for me. For starters, you have Delphine Seyrig at the lead and she is, without a doubt, the single sexiest vampire ever put on film. She plays against all the tropes and depicts her Countess Bathory as more of a pampered, spoiled princess than anything else. With her deep, alluring voice, you never have any doubt that she could convince anyone to do anything she ever wanted.

Daughters of Darkness also straddles an interesting and exciting line between arthouse respectability and grindhouse exploitation. It's a great mix.

Some of the other performers can't help but dim in the shadow of Seyrig, but most everyone does a decent job. The music score is lovely and haunting and the locations are incredibly moody.

If you're into smart, slow burn horror flicks, Daughters of Darkness might just become one of your favorites.

Classic erotic vampire film

The vampire film was very popular in Europe in the early 70's. Several key entries in the genre were released at this time such as some interesting films from Hammer Studios as well as numerous titles from specialist auteurs like Jesus Franco and Jean Rollin. Unlike the majority of films from this sub-genre, Daughters of Darkness underplays the vampirism and nudity somewhat, while still retaining a dark mood and overwhelming eroticism. It's certainly far classier than most others in the vampire genre and is committedly artistic with beautiful cinematography and costumes shot within interesting locations, with a very effective and unusual soundtrack. Its story has a honeymooning couple Stefan and Valerie end up at a deserted hotel in Ostend where the only other guests are a pair of unusual women, one of whom it turns out is the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

Like the later Don't Look Now (1973), Daughters of Darkness uses the strange mood of an off-season resort to great effect. Like that film too, this is a horror film that really works simultaneously as an art film too. Director Harry Kümel needs to be given a great deal of credit for the stylish presentation that always feels like it accentuates the content, rather than just being showy. The visuals are especially memorable and the use of colour quite excellent throughout, while the strange setting adds its own unorthodox atmosphere to proceedings. It has to also be added that this is still a movie that does not disregard its horror angle at the expense of artistry as there are several macabre scenes and some that go for a much more visceral approach. It's a film that operates in several ways.

These things all in themselves would ensure that Daughters of Darkness would be a classic within the genre but it doesn't even take into account the presence of Delphine Seyrig. This is a calibre of actress very rarely seen in this type of movie and she is really quite magnificent as Countess Elizabeth Bathory. She oozes sensuality throughout the picture and very easily convinces as a woman capable of seducing anyone. Her mysterious acting persona is one of her gifts – see it utilised in another famous enigmatic film Last Year at Marienbad (1961) – and here it is her very screen presence that makes us believe in her supernatural character. Seyrig is clearly the star here and head and shoulders above everyone else but the rest of the cast actually do good controlled work too.

Daughters of Darkness is certainly a classic of its type. It just seems to have a lot more going on in it and a pleasing ambiguity. Take for instance the character of Stefan, who it becomes clear is not only a violent sexual sadist but whose overbearing 'mother' turns out to be a very strange man instead. It's these kinds of bold moves that make the film as a whole even more fascinating and disturbing. This is undoubtedly one of the all-time great European cult horror movies for several compelling reasons.

Capably combines art and exploitation.

This viewer will admit right off that he is more accustomed to horror movies of the more traditional kind. However, that doesn't mean that he can't appreciate what a movie like this tries to do. Harry Kumel's "Les Levres Rouges", a.k.a. "Daughters of Darkness", as I am sure has been said numerous times before, has higher aspirations than cheap thrills. (That doesn't mean, however, that fans hoping for a trash quotient won't get it, as there is a fairly generous dose of nudity, male and female, in one key scene.) It's stately, intelligent, and very deliberately paced, with a clear focus on character and ambiance. Now, there are some genuine shock moments and scenes of sudden violence, but they are few and far between. The action, so to speak, is mostly set inside a vast, opulent hotel that a honeymooning couple is visiting in the wintertime. So, it is actually almost empty, until the couple, Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) make the acquaintance of sophisticated Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig), who just might be THE Elizabeth Bathory of real-life infamy, and her sultry companion, Ilona (Andrea Rau). Enhanced by lovely music composed by Francois de Roubaix, the movie, just like its cagey main character, has a certain, seductive allure going for it; it's hard not to be captivated by Seyrig's performance and hang on every word she speaks. One can sense that her presence can only lead this young couple to some pretty dark places as passionate impulse takes over and the violent side of Stefan's personality is more prone to emerge. In fact, as this story plays out, The Countess doesn't seem as bad as Stefan turns out to be. The other actors do a fine job of reinforcing the notion that a substantial part of acting is REACTING, as their characters feel the influence of this sexy stranger. The atmosphere and mood of this movie are simply excellent, as right from the get go, and we are witness of a steamy act of lovemaking, there is a very somber feel to the characters and dialogue. Stefan and Valerie go so far as to admit that their relationship is not really based on love. Character details like this are given throughout; Stefan reacts with more than casual curiosity to being present at a murder scene, and when he and the Countess recount the horrific acts of Elizabeth Bathory, it arouses them more and more; Valerie yells at them to stop, and is it the sordid nature of what they speak, the fact that they're getting turned on, or both, that is unnerving Valerie? What the characters realize about themselves and the others becomes vitally important to what unfolds. With its elements of lesbianism, eroticism, and sadomasochism, this is an interesting piece of cinema for patient viewers. Seven out of 10.
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