Daughters of Darkness (1971)

It’s been awhile, things had gotten busy, and I just wasn’t in the place for a horror movie for a bit, but I have no intention of ceasing my journey through the 101 Horror Movies to See Before You Die.

We’ve reached the 70s, and I watched this cult classic, a co-production from Belgium, France and Germany.

It’s sensual, delightfully sapphic, and occasionally very surreal.

Two honeymooners, on their way back to England to meet the family, though Stefan (John Karlen) is a little reticent to do so, knowing that his family won’t really approve of her. His new bride, Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) is a typical 70s Scandavian-type beauty (though Danielle is actually from Montreal), tall, blue-eyes, long blonde hair parted in the middle.

They decide to stay for a few days at a rather lovely but empty hotel, learning of a string of deaths in neighboring towns.

They content themselves for an evening, though Valerie constantly asks about his family, until Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and her companion Ilona (Andrea Rau) arrive.

Right from the off, you know there’s something different about them, and I don’t mean the subtle and not so subtle lesbian tendencies.

The Countess begins to insinuate herself into their relationship, teasing and arousing Stefan with stories of death and blood via the legend of Countess Erzabeth de Bathroy, who according to myth, bathed in the blood of 300 virgins.

Valerie, shortly thereafter that not only is Stefan a bit of a douche, he beats her with his belt, and then allows himself to be seduced by Ilona, at Elizabeth’s urging.

As things do, they end tragically. Not only is he caught by Valerie, but there is death and blood involved.

Through all this, Valerie begins to fall under Bathory’s spell, and the distance between Stefan and Valerie grows.

Which, honestly, I was fine with, cause as I mentioned, the guy’s a bit of a douche.

The Countess is a sad and lonely character, and though she seems a little manipulative in getting what she wants, you almost feel a little sorry for her.

It’s not really discussed how she became a vampire, and the word itself is never used, though it’s implied she is the self-same Countess of legend.

There is a splash of blood, as well as breasts, but never in an exploitative kind of way, it’s all very natural, and the nudity itself is treated as very common-place.

Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, the film seemed a little slow-moving, but was lovely to look at… which adds it to the list of movies that I probably never would have seen without this little book at hand.

I do know there are lots of classics coming up! Stay tuned…

Have you seen it? What did you think?


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