Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Article #1134 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-22-2004
Posting Date: 9-19-2004
Directed by Harry Kumel
Featuring John Karlen, Delphine Seyrig, Danielle Ouimet

A newly married couple stay at a nearly empty but sumptuous hotel where they end up encountering Countess Bathory and her friend.

You know, I’ve heard a lot of talk over the years about how vampirism and sex are connected, and plenty of movies have played up the theme. However, most of those movies do nothing more than play up the “victim-loves-to-be-bitten” angle and have all the vampires look as sexy as possible. This one is a rare exception; it goes much deeper into the various aspects of sexuality, seduction, sadomasochism and dominance/submission games. You really become fascinated with how each character relates to and feels about the other characters, and things never quite happen in the way you expect. Straightforward horror fans will probably be disappointed; the movie abjures many of the usual vampire trappings (for example, there are no obvious barings of vampire fangs, though other things are bared) for more subtle types of horror. In fact, the sexual dynamics make the movie feel more like film noir than horror. Despite a lot of nudity and a certain amount of blood-letting, the movie somehow deftly avoids being merely exploitative. It’s not for everyone, but it is definitely worth a look.

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