A young eloping couple arrive at a coastal resort in the off season & book into a large hotel, the only other guests being a mysterious countess and her maid servant. Then grisly murders start to happen in the vicinity and the countess is taking a very close interest in the young couple....
A low key DVD release for what was once an infamous cult horror film. The Belgian director Harry Kumel was a maverick figure who didn't really belong in any particular genre. Apparently Daughters of Darkness was marketed in Europe as a mainstream commercial horror film & flopped, but in America it was distributed to select art house cinemas & cleverly marketed as a sophisticated decadent "continental" movie - which happened to be about lesbian vampires. Needless to say, there were queues around the block & I've read that the film went on to become one of the biggest grossing "foreign" films of the early 70s.
In fact, watching it on DVD now, it does seem much closer to art house than exploitation. It stars art house queen Delphine Seyrig - very good as the countess, bringing a sinister pathos to her role. Seyrig starred in Last Year at Marienbad & the large labyrinthine hotel with its "mad" inhabitants in this film is one of several possible allusions to Marienbad (as other reviewers have mentioned). The young couple are maybe a bit weak, but for the most part the film sustains a polished art house sensibility and a chilly glacial ambience.
Although the film probably seemed quite kinky & grisly to audiences in 1970, it is unlikely to strike today's viewer as especially erotic or shocking. Yet the film remains unsettling, perhaps even disturbing in its icy amorality. Daughters of Darkness is quite unlike British, American or Italian horror. It represents a curious one-off example that the horror genre never took up.
The film (or this version) is in English, not subtitled. No extras but the DVD is ok.