The Curator of Schlock #328 by Jeff Shuster
Daughters of Darkness
Lesbian vampires…and why not.
Since last I blogged, I’ve been busy sharpening a stake of wood, which isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. I figured it was time I put Celestial out of her misery, put her soul to rest, and rid her of the curse of vampirism. I had to hurry as the sun was setting. I crept into her bedroom while she was fast asleep. I leaned over with bated breath, ready to pierce her heart. Then Celestial opened her eyes. I freaked out, dropped the stake, ran into my room, and locked the door. Tomorrow’s another day.
Tonight’s movie is 1971’s Daughters of Darkness from director Harry Kümel. This is a Belgian vampire movie from the early 70s and it feels like a Belgian horror movie from the early 70s. Not that I’ve ever seen any Belgian vampire movies from the early 70s so what do I know about them. It’s in English for those of you out there that worry about having to read subtitles and hearing strange foreign tongues.
Speaking of tongues, the movie opens with a couple of young newlyweds making sweet love in their train compartment. The young couple are Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie Chilton (Danielle Ouimet). The train gets stuck on the tracks in the middle of Ostend. While Stefan and Valerie had intended to go to England to meet Stefan’s mother, Stefan convinces Valerie to stay overnight at a seaside hotel. Valerie insists that Stefan call his mother and tell her about the good news, but Stefan bribes the concierge into saying he couldn’t get reach his mother. We later learn that Stefan’s mother is more like a creepy old man who may be his pimp or some other sordid occupation. It never gets explained.
The young couple are enjoying a meal of white fish when in walks the elegant Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Delphine Seyrig) and her young traveling companion, Ilona (Andrea Rau). The hotel concierge swears he saw Countess Báthory at the hotel forty years earlier when he was just starting out as a bellboy. Countess Báthory says it must have been her mother. She takes a keen interest in the hip, young couple staying at the hotel. Countess Báthory is particularly fixated on Valerie.
It seems that mutilated bodies of young women are found in ever city the countess visits. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, just as it’s a coincidence that this Countess Báthory bears a striking resemblance to her ancestor, a Hungarian countess that murdered two hundred maidens and bathed in their blood to retain her youth. This Countess Báthory knows about all this in great detail and seems to get turned on when talking about the various ways her ancestor tortured and killed those young women.
Countess Báthory starts using head games to drive the young couple apart. Ilona manages to seduce young Stefan, but dies soon after in a bizarre bathroom accident after Stefan tries forcing her to shower with him. Countess Báthory helps them dispose of the body and it’s around this time that Stefan wants himself and Valerie to get away from there. But it’s too late. Valerie has fallen under the spell of the Countess. Don’t be expecting a happy ending with this one, folks. No one gets what they want. Damn vampires!
Jeff Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, episode 284, and episode 441) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
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