Daughters of Darkness (1971) Blue Underground Blu-ray Review
A moody and effective erotic-lite vampire-styled romantic horror film under the guise of an artsy drama, Daughters of Darkness has garnered a respectful cult status since debuting in the early 1970’s, and rightfully so.
A newlywed couple on their honeymoon comes into the crosshairs of a pair of women who have taken a special interest in them.
Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) have just been married a day previously and have embarked on their honeymoon. After their train ride they stop at a beautiful seaside resort hotel where they seem to be the only guests. Stefan is controlling with Valerie … perhaps she’s having second thoughts, but it seems their fate is sealed when another couple arrive at the hotel late that night when the newlyweds are having their dinner alone in the sprawling dining area. The other couple – two attractive women – sets their eyes on them and it’s a dark kismet. The older woman, blonde and clearly the alpha, is the Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Delphine Seyrig), and her longtime plaything is the coquettish Ilona (Andrea Rau) who is beholden to the powerfully suggestive Countess. The Countess desires Valerie like nothing else in the world exists, and Ilona has a playful, but unsure lust for Stefan, and when the two couples collide, Stefan allows his gaze to shift away from his bride to Ilona. Soon, Stefan and Ilona are making love together, but after a bizarre accident (which is carefully choreographed in the film to feel more or less plausible) while they’re showering together, Ilona is killed in a bloody fashion. It might even look like murder. Valerie and the Countess walk in on the horrible aftermath, and it is determined right then and there that the Countess will help the newlyweds dispose of the body by burying it deep in the sand, which cements how far she’s got her talons in Stefan and Valerie who fall under the other woman’s strange but commanding spell. Soon, it becomes clear that the Countess – who is very obviously the infamous figure of history that became notorious for bathing in virgin blood to remain youthful looking – will make Valerie her next plaything, if only she can do away with Stefan, who has become a third wheel …
A moody and effective erotic-lite vampire-styled romantic horror film under the guise of an artsy drama, Daughters of Darkness has garnered a respectful cult status since debuting in the early 1970’s, and rightfully so. The film doesn’t dwell in the exploitation tropes that many other similar-type films from filmmakers like Jess Franco did at the time. Filmmaker Harry Kumel’s approach is mature, subtly stylish, and somewhat haunting, particularly towards the climax. The film might remain as one of the quintessential “adult” horror films coming from the European market from the 1970s of all time. It still remains potent and strong, and its spell lingers.
Blue Underground released a definitive 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray / Soundtrack CD combo edition three years ago, and it’s the perfect way to usher in this coming Halloween season for your hardcopy media collection. The image quality is strong and vivid in 1:66:1 with high-resolution clarity, and there are some newly produced special features, as well as a swathe of archival features from the previous edition by Blue Underground. As this has been one of their catalogue titles for years, they’ve maintained and upgraded it for fans and newcomers alike.
Audio Commentary #1 with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel
Audio Commentary #2 with Star John Karlen and Journalist David Del Valle
NEW! Audio Commentary #3 with Kat Ellinger, Author of “Devil’s Advocates: Daughters of Darkness”
Locations of Darkness – Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel and Co-Writer/Co-Producer Pierre Drouot
Playing the Victim – Interview with Star Danielle Ouimet
Daughter of Darkness – Interview with Star Andrea Rau
NEW! Theatrical Trailers
NEW! Alternate U.S. Main Titles
NEW! Poster & Still Gallery
BONUS! DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by François de Roubaix
BONUS! Collectible Booklet with new essay by Michael Gingold
English: Dolby Atmos; 5.1 DTS-HD; 1.0 DTS-HD
French: 1.0 DTS-HD
Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, Espanol, English for French Audio