- Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Region: All RegionsAll Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: BLUE UNDERGROUND
- Release Date: Sept. 30 2008
- Run Time: 100 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- ASIN: B001B1Q3LM
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,503 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
Daughters of Darkness
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Daughters of Darkness
Art-movie goddess Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad) slinks through the plush Eurotrash settings as the deathless Elizabeth Bathory, Vampire Countess, in Harry Kümel's minor Dutch classic of lesbian erotic-gothic. Blood mingles with water during the languorous shower scenes. Set at an upper-crust seaside resort, the 1971 film recounts Bathory's plot to replace her current consort (Andrea Rau) with a fresher specimen, an abused newlywed whose brutal young husband is an inconvenience waiting to be eliminated. Although both the bi-sex and the neck-biting violence are tame by today's standards, the film has a graceful, gliding sense of pace that gets under your skin; something unspeakably kinky always seems to be just about to happen. It never quite does, but the mood lingers. See it with someone you love--or would like to. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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While an entire mystique has developed around Bathory, let's remember that she was a real person, who actually believed that bathing in virgins' blood would sustain her youthful beauty. Perverse, in other words, but strictly material --- there was nothing supernatural about her.
The problem with "Daughters," though, is not that it reinterprets Bathory as a supernatural being. Bram Stoker was guilty of the same thing in his reconfigured version of Vlad Tepes. But at least Stoker was consistent --- he reinvented "Dracula" in his own terms, and did not arbitrarily mix the supernatural laws governing one sort of vampire with those of another.
By contrast, "Daughters" mixes legends. Why, for example, do we hear a sudden outburst of "cue music" when Stefan accidentally nicks his neck shaving? It's obviously a moment that director Kumel carefully prepares us for, but the strategem backfires, because the Countess is not that sort of vampire.
Why, moreover, does the Countess hold a seemingly supernatural, Svengali-like hold over her victims, rather than merely erotic control? And why does she keep "reincarnating" in body after body, when this, too, has no connection with either Bathory or conventional vampire lore?
Why, too, does "Ilona" recoil from a shower near the end of the film? Her fear of running water has us connecting Bathorian vampirism with the Stokeresque variety, but for no legitimate reason.
On top of all this, it's left unexplained why John Karlen should at one point be incited by a thunderstorm to flagellate his mistress. What's this --- a reference to Sturm und Drang, or another mysterious link with the Countess? If the latter, then it would probably be the result of the Countess's interest in Valerie --- therefore, it would make more sense for Valerie to be attacking Stefan, not the other way around.
And why, when the Countess first meets Pierre, does he say she looks "just like" a woman who visited the hotel 40 years ago? Since he's obviously referring to the same woman, wouldn't any self-respecting vampire have changed her hairstyle since the Depression era? Pretty gauche, if you ask me.
Despite these flaws, I love "Daughters of Darkness" for its beautifully decadent mood, its characters' talent for self-destruction, its unique score, and the incredibly luscious Andrea Rau in the role of "Ilona." I've watched the film repeatedly for the last 14 years, and it's never lost its power. Which only shows that there are sometimes more important things in a film than logic.
Notes to the director: eerie lighting and bad lighting are two different things. I felt like I needed a flashlight to see what was going on - but then again, maybe the lack of lighting was a small mercy paid us by the director.
The screenplay is entirely incoherent, and the actors are absolutely clueless. There's supposed to be some sort of oh-so-erotic lesbian imagery in here, but I've seen better eroticism in the worst European sexploitation films.
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