A recently eloped, troubled young couple book into a luxurious but desolate hotel. Valerie is young, naive and curious, whereas Stefan's sadistic tendencies are slowly bubbling to the surface. When a mysterious, exotic countess arrives at the hotel with her voluptuous assistant, things take a turn for the bizarre. As the night draws in, the newlyweds are slowly seduced into an erotically charged, supernatural world of uncontrollable lust and murder. Can they resist the lure of fevered temptation or must they submit to their darkest fantasies?
- Daughters of Darkness review by Corinthian
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You rated this film: 3
Pretty bizzare foreign Vamp with amusing dubbing and pretty odd plot but just about kept me interested to the end. No need to leave the lights on for this one as not the slightest bit scary.. although whoever wrote is must be pretty scary!
Spoilers follow ...
- Daughters of Darkness review by NP
(0) of (0) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
In this exotic Belgian/French/German production, John Karlen, who had spent many years brilliantly playing (the second) Willie Loomis in the cult American horror-soap ‘Dark Shadows’ here plays newly married Stefan. Danielle Ouimet plays the wife that Stefan seems strangely unwilling to introduce to his mother.
They are staying the same hotel is the magnificent and sensual Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig), who the desk clerk swears stayed at the hotel forty years earlier and has not changed at all, and her ward Ilona (Andrea Rau). Worryingly, there is a spate of killings around the district, the perpetrator untraceable.
Director Harry Kümel deliberately styled Delphine Seyrig's character after Marlene Dietrich and Rau's after Louise Brooks, the leaning to such genuinely iconic style pays dividends because the two figures are striking and make an impression before they have even spoken.
As is often the way in the chic European horror films, the locations featured are absolutely stunning. Most of the story place inside the splendid (and yet more than slightly oppressive) Hotel Astoria, Brussels, which lends itself beautifully to the moody timelessness of the piece – even if the Countess does describe it as ‘a caravan!’ Equally, the pacing is typically leisurely, allowing us to become immersed in the theatrical nature of the titular characters and their world. ‘Daughters of Darkness’ is very similar in style to ‘The Hunger’. Whereas the 1983 film has been slated for ‘style over content’, this is hailed as a classic. I’m not sure why such double standards should exist.
When Stefan does finally telephone his mother and tell her of his marriage to Valerie, ‘she’ is revealed to be a flamboyant, elderly man – possibly Stefan’s boyfriend. After that, Stefan – until now merely volatile – displays violent, resentful behaviour to his wife. Things don’t end there. The Countess seduces Valerie and prevents her from leaving, and Ilona falls for Stefan, telling him she is ‘afraid.’ She has good reason to be, for during a sex-fuelled altercation in the shower (caused by her aversion to running water, which Bathory seems unaffected by), Ilona is killed. Not long after his behaviour spirals, Stefan is also despatched.
There is a theme of red running (literally) throughout. Lipstick, nail varnish, costumes and sporadic gouts of blood; sometimes scenes fade to a strangely warm red before the next, reverting to contrasting cold blue colours, begins.
As Valerie and the Countess speed through the night to escape the coming dawn (‘Faster, faster,’ purrs Bathory), there is, inevitably, an accident in which both appear to be spectacularly killed...
… except three months later, Valerie, speaking with the Countess’s husky voice, appears as well as ever and indulging in her usual exotic lifestyle. Fade to red one final time.