I've got to give credit where credit is due. I recently received as an early Christmas gift, a package of DVDs from my old buddy Gary Banks (thanks Gary!). Most of the DVDs were "burned" copies but one was the real deal, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (1971) in an attractive package on the Blue Underground label. I'd never seen this one until I sat down and watched it this afternoon.
This is a Euro-horror-art film about lesbian vampires with overtones of sadism. The kinko-meter is turned up to 11 on this stylish, nicely shot film. Delphine Seyrig stars as Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a beautiful woman made immortal by both bathing in and drinking the blood of virgins. She crosses paths with a newlywed couple, Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) at a deserted Belgian hotel. Bathory is accompanied by her "secretary" Ilona (Andrea Rau) and the four characters soon engage in a game of seduction and death. Bathory and Ilona are, of course, lesbian vampires. Bathory sets her sights on Valerie while Ilona goes after Stefan. But Stefan is revealed to be a sadist with a bizarre "mother".
The action of the film takes place in a variety of curiously de-populated European locales. Besides the four principal characters, the only other key people to appear in the film are the concierge at the hotel and a retired detective who keeps showing up in the oddest places. The stark, isolated landscapes and interiors work in favor of the narrative and give the film a haunted, dreamlike quality.
Competently directed by Harry Kumel, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS is a Belgium/France/West Germany co-production that clearly took advantage of the sexually liberated international cinema of the 1970s. The three women are all attractive and there's plenty of nudity (male and female) to go along with the surprising little (given the subject matter) on-screen bloodshed and violence. If you're a fan of vampire films or 1970s European horror cinema, check out DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS. Thumbs up.