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Daughters of Darkness - Blu-ray - Blue Underground Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
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Written by Chris Mayo   
Tuesday, 05 April 2011
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Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Cover Art on Severed Cinema
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AKA: Les lèvres rouges, Blood on the Lips, Blut an den Lippen, Children of the Night, Dzieci nocy, El rojo en los labios, Erzebeth, I komissa Drakoulas, Kirmizi dudaklar, La vestale di Satana, Le rouge aux Lèvres, Ta kokkina heili tou Satana, The Promise of Red Lips, The Red Lips, The Redness of the Lips

Directed by: Harry Kümel
Written by: Pierre Drouot, Harry Kümel
Produced by: Henry Lange, Paul Collet, Luggi Waldleitner
Cinematography by: Eduard van der Enden
Editing by: Denis Bonan, August Verschueren, Hans Zeiler
Music by: François de Roubaix
Special Effects by: Eugene Hendrickx
Cast: Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Danielle Ouimet, Andrea Rau
Year: 1971
Country: Belgium, France, West Germany
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 40 min

Studio: Blue Underground

Newlyweds, Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) are making their way to England on a train from Switzerland.  Less than enthusiastic, Stefan is taking Valerie home to meet his “Mother.”  An announcement is made that a train up ahead has gone off track causing the couple to spend a night in an old beachside hotel in Ostend, a Belgium sea-port city.  There the concierge gives them the privilege of the hotel’s best room, the royal suite, due to it being the hotel’s off season.

The hotel is deserted, that is until Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Delphie Seyris), accompanied by her young female companion (secretary) Ilona (Andrea Rau), arrive requesting the now occupied royal suite.  Taken aback by the Countess, the hotel’s concierge mentions to her that he saw her at this very hotel 40-years-ago as a child.  Bathory quickly dismisses his assertion as being a possible relative of hers and accepts another room.  The Countess and Ilona meet the hotel’s newlywed guests and from the onset the Countess takes a liking to them.  The approaching relationship between the quartet results in sex, betrayal and murder.

Daughters of Darkness” is filled with mysteriousness.  It seems every character has a hidden, secretive past.  Stefan is hiding something.  When the newlyweds arrive at the hotel, Valerie wants Stefan to make a call to his “Mother.”  When he asks the concierge to make the call, he deviously hands him a note that says “Say there is no reply.”  Leaving us to wonder, what is he hiding from his wife?  Stefan’s peculiar behavior continues and the couple spends a touristy day in Bruges.  They stumble upon a group of spectators watching as bodies of young females are taken away by ambulance.  Enamored by the sight of the dead bodies, Stefan becomes transfixed, so much so that when Valerie tries to leave the scene he “accidently” smacks her in the face.  Perhaps, a taste of things to come…

Delphie Seyris wonderfully portrays the Dark Countess.  Never does she reveal her “true” identity, but from her first appearance we know she’s the real deal -- the actual Hungarian monstrosity who bathed in the blood of young virgins.  She continually keeps an aura of mystery around her when intermingling with the newlyweds.  Using astuteness she sets the newlyweds further apart.   In one scene she sends her companion into Stefan’s room to arouse his male desires.  Armed with a sob story and pearl necklace, the Countess’ plan is successful resulting in fellatio, distancing the couple further.

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

As a whole, “Daughters of Darkness” works well.  However, I can’t understand how the situation of Stefan not wanting Valerie to meet his mother aides the film’s plot.  You’ll know what I mean when his mother is revealed.  Since nothing ever materializes from these scenes, why include them at all?  Was this situation added to merely add to the mysteriousness of the film?  Perhaps the function is lost on this viewer.

The locations of “Daughters of Darkness” are as influential and important as the characters in the film.  Artfully shot, the gothic buildings and extravagant set-pieces, paired with a red and violet color scheme capitalizes on the film’s unnerving atmosphere.  Stylish and evocative of the Vampire films of Jean Rollin, “Daughters of Darkness” is still as unique as it is mesmerizing.

Blue Underground executes an excellent Blu-Ray presentation of “Daughters of Darkness” with a good looking 1.66:1 1080p high definition MPEG-4 AVC transfer, on a 50GB disc.  This presentation is lush with great detail and vibrant colors of red and violet.  The audio lacks some oomph with its English DTS-HD Mono as well as French DTS-HD Mono tracks.  It does not, however, encumber this Blu-ray presentation.  The audio can be accompanied by English, French or Spanish subtitles.  The supplements here are jam-packed.  To begin, there are two audio commentaries.  The first is with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel, followed by a commentary with Star John Karlen and Journalist David Del Valle.  ‘Locations of Darkness -- Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel and Co-Writer/Co-Producer Pierre Drouot’ runs 21-minutes in length.  Continuing the interviews are ‘Playing the Victim – Interview with Star Danielle Ouimet’ (15-minutes) and ‘Daughter of Darkness – Interview with Star Andrea Rau’ (8-minutes).  There is also a ‘Theatrical Trailer’ and ‘Radio Spots’.  Finalizing the extras we even get another (standard definition) film -- “The Blood Splattered Bride” from 1972.

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

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Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 BLU-RAY: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 16x9 1080p MPEG-4 AVC
 Region: A
 Audio: English, French DTS-HD Mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Audio Commentary w/ Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel
 - Audio Commentary w/ Star John Karlen, Journalist David Del Valle
 - Locations of Darkness -- Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel and Co-Writer/Co-Producer Pierre Drouot
 - Playing the Victim – Interview with Star Danielle Ouimet
 - Daughter of Darkness – Interview with Star Andrea Rau
 - Theatrical Trailer
 - Radio Spots
 - “The Blood Splattered Bride

 

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