01
Oct
14

Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Delphine Seyrig as The Countess Elizabeth Báthory

Delphine Seyrig as The Countess Elizabeth Báthory

Many great things happen in October; the leaves change, ugly gourds come back into fashion, me and my marriage age another year, and there are a bazillion ‘best of’ horror movie lists on the internet! We aren’t exactly going to partake in the list-fest, but we are going to write up a horror movie each day in October. Let’s kick off 31 Days of Horror’s triumphant return with a Lesbian Vampire flick, shall we?

Daughters of Darkness centers around Stefan and Valerie, not your typical newlyweds. After eloping, they’re headed to England so Stefan can introduce Valerie to his family, though he is definitely not looking forward to their meeting. In fact, he seems to be doing everything in his power to avoid it. Valerie is suspicious, but insistent that she meet her new in-laws, despite Stefan’s constant hints that ‘Mother’ will absolutely not accept Valerie as part of her family. En route, the two stop over at a seaside hotel in Belgium. It’s the off-season, and they’re the only guests. That is until two very red-lipped, gorgeous women walk in and demand their room.

The Countess is responsible for many a turned head...

The Countess is responsible for many a turned head…

The concierge is shocked when he sees the two women; he insists that the Countess (Delphine Seyrig) Elizabeth Báthory (no shit) stayed at the hotel years ago, when he was just a boy. Nothing weird about that, I guess, except he swears she hasn’t aged a bit. She and her ‘secretary’ Ilona (Andrea Rau) accept a room down the hall from the newlyweds. The Countess seems to become fixated on them, particularly Valerie, while Ilona appears to be insanely jealous.

Just what the hell is going on here? Between the weirdo ladies who don’t leave their room during the day and Stefan’s strange fear of introducing his new wife to Mother, poor Valerie is caught up in some pretty weird shit. She’s a sensitive soul, too – when Stefan and the Countess start talking about the Countess’s namesake and her thirst for virgin blood, Valerie just about loses it. Poor thing, the Countess is sure she needs some comforting…

...and a few screams, too!

…and a few screams, too!

As I’ve come to expect from European lesbian vampire flicks from the 1970’s, this movie is so damn stylish. Though, to be fair, a movie with a woman like Delphine Seyrig in the lead role doesn’t have to try hard to be stylish. Hot damn, I’d go undead for that woman any day of the week! She and Andrea Rau really make this movie an exciting joy to watch.

That being said, I spent most of the film intrigued by the notion that Stefan’s secrets might be more interesting than the Countess’s. Ultimately, I was disappointed that those secrets weren’t explored more. Stefan’s plot thread is left dangling, and I wanted to know more about what was going on there, and the glimpse we do catch of “Mother” just left me in total suspense! But Stefan’s family isn’t the only part of the plot that left me mystified; the ending is a bit of a head-scratcher, too.

And in the end, a woman like the Countess will always get what she wants.

And in the end, a woman like the Countess will always get what she wants.

Even though I felt there was something just plain missing from this movie, I still really enjoyed watching it. Though that might be due in large part to the pretty ladies and the multitudes of lipstick tubes that must have been used in the filming of this movie, I do think the anticipation of finding out deep family secrets kept me hanging on the edge of my seat. Allow me, though, to be clear about something: this movie is not a fast-paced thriller; far from it! It is a pretty slow-moving movie, but I wouldn’t call it boring. Definitely worth a watch.

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