My two favorite vampire films are Vampire Lovers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There is something out both films that carry a certain level of dignity in them. That same sense is found in Daughters of Darkness. The film centers around the arrival and stay of two couples at a hotel in Belgium. The first is the highly sexual young couple Valerie (Danielle Oumet) and Stefan (John Karlen) who are on their way to visit her mother in law in England. The other couple is Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and her partner Ilona (Andrea Rau). Each couple had their issues. Valerie wanted to be embraced by his family. Ilona wants to be turned.
The gender and sexuality dynamics between Valerie and Stefan, Countess Bathory and Valerie, Countess Bathory and Stefan, Countess Bathory and Ilona all are extremely interesting to view. The film tackled the roles the characters in a manner that was not exploitative in any shape or form. The nuances on display by the characters feel so relevant today as it had to be when the film was released. The toxic masculinity and the character “Mother” added unexpected layers to a film that was already pushing boundaries in the areas of gender and sexuality.
The film excels in the are of cinematography and tone. Harry Kumell made such great use of his DP Edward van der Enden. There are scenes in the remastered version of the film that draws you into the scene. That silver dress Delphine wears in the film looks utterly amazing on her. You cant even downplay the wardrobe, makeup, and hair in the film. Every aspect of the film was so visually appealing. When you have a film that has a foundation built around sadism, masochism, impulsive behavior, love, and lust. It helps that it is a beautiful film to watch.
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