Released in 1971, Harry Kümel’s “Daughters of Darkness” follows the ethereal and divine Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Delphine Seyrig) and her equally enchanting partner, Ilona (Andrea Rau), in their international blood feast. When newlyweds Valérie (Danielle Ouimet) and Stefan (John Karlen) arrive at an extravagant hotel in Ostend, Belgium, the Countess hypnotizes them, trapping the couple in her inescapable web of sex and seduction.
The Countess has a particular appetite. Initially, she seduces Stefan with a story about her supposed ancestor who once tortured virgins and drained their blood – much to Valerie’s horror. But his plan is complex. Possessing a fluid sexuality, she traps, corrupts, then leaps. Later, she lures Valerie to her bedroom for a midnight frolic, and in the morning light, Valerie is also bloodthirsty. Meanwhile, Ilona has been tasked with trapping Stefan once and for all, but a fight in the shower results in an untimely demise.
“Daughters of Darkness” is a salacious entertainment, elegant and stylish affair about the limitless nature of sex and identity. With Seyrig’s inspired and sultry performance, the film has an irresistibly hypnotic quality from its tantalizing opening scene to its fiery climax.