Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Directed by Harry Kümel

Starring Andrea Rau Danielle Ouimet Delphine Seyrig John Karlen Paul Esser

Far-out and groovy Euro-vampire flick from the 1970s may be a little too slow for some viewers. But patient and thoughtful horror fans should get a lot out of this film, which looks and feels like a Jean Rollin vamp movie, only it's in English.

The film opens with a swinging young couple who have just married, shagging on a train. The groovy guy in a turtleneck is played by "Dark Shadows" alum John Karlen. His bride is lovely, straight-haired Danielle Ouimet. Tensions are already mounting between their marriage, because of Karlen's mother, whom he hasn't introduced his new wife to. He's terrified of the idea of calling her.

When the two miss a connection to a ferry, they're forced to spend a night in a deserted, but extremely posh, European resort. They run into the charismatic Countess Elisabeth Bathory (played by Seyrig), who may or may not be a 300-year-old vampire. The Countess' tag along is lovely Andrea Rau, a submissive short-haired follower who seems obsessed with pleasing her master, the countess.

Seyrig is fantastic in her role as the dark, 1920s-style glamorous, extremely in-control countess, and Rau is simply a pleasure to watch. Slowly and subtly, Seyrig begins manipulating the two newly-weds and seduces Ouimet into becoming her new follower. As it turns out, her character isn't just a vampire. She's the legendary (and real) countess who drained virgins of their blood to supposedly maintain her youth. This real-life figure was the basis for Hammer film's "Countess Dracula," released the same year.

With a good script, a tight cast and some fairly explicit moments, "Daughters of Darkness" was one of the earliest original lesbian vampire films, although it was predated by Hammer's "The Vampire Lovers."

Not as good as two erotic vampire films that would follow -- Rollins' "Lips of Blood" and the mid-1970s Larraz film "Vampyres" -- but still a fine, fine movie, that surpasses most of the similar stuff being cranked out by Hammer at this time.

Cool ending too.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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