Daughters Of Darkness
Daughters Of Darkness is a film that I have wanted to see for many years – six or seven, at least – and, after finding it at a local shop, I was finally able to sit down and give it a much anticipated viewing last night. There has been a fair amount of genre-hype around Harry Kümel’s 1971 film as it is often considered to be a top-notch European vampire flick but, upon viewing it myself, I can only question the hype. The movie essentially follows a recently wed couple who quickly encounter a modern-day Elizabeth Báthory and, from there, things slowly spiral out-of-control and, when I say slowly, I mean slowly.
For those uninitiated, this is pretty far off from a horror film and, instead, only has trace elements of the genre scattered throughout its duration so if you’re steadfast on seeing a horror flick Daughters Of Darkness isn’t going to be your cup of tea. If I had a throw a classification on it I’d say it’s somewhere between art-house and exploitation rather representative for its period; there is also, perhaps expectably, a slightly psychedelic feel to it as well. None of the aforementioned bothers me as I like all of the said genres on their own and, in many cases, when they’re mixed together also; no, the bane of Daughters Of Darkness, as hinted earlier, is its rather trying pace. Indeed, this film is quite slow and will certainly drive anyone who isn’t used to these kind of movies mad. Even though I am a rather seasoned viewer I still found the pacing of this vampiric venture to be lacking considerably – there’s not much violence, there’s not much sex and there’s not much clever dialog and, if such things are absent, how can a film of this nature possibly be a success? Daughters Of Darkness has some impressive cinematography, decent acting and a first-rate soundtrack, yes, but otherwise I can think of nothing exceptional to point out other than a handful of well-constructed scenes. For example, the Countess and Stefan (one of the newlyweds) begin to caress each other rather vigorously whilst describing all kinds of sadistic acts of torture in one scene and the results are a pure delight; Stefan’s mother is of considerable interest, also, haha.
Eh, I am having difficultly coming up with more to say about Kümel’s sole venture (from what I understand, anyway) into the realm of vampirism. The film, despite having my full attention, just dragged on longer than it was welcome and while it does have its moments they were too few and far between to save it from mediocrity. I have seen worse, yes, but I have also seen better. Nevertheless, I do recommend viewing Daughters Of Darkness for yourself since this flick has got a lot of supporters out there and is considered to be a cult classic by many so perhaps I am just one of those folks who simply doesn’t “get it.” In time I will be giving this one another spin to either verify or thwart my current standing since I do want to like it but, as for a first impression, I was disappointed. Recommended to those dedicated to the genre only.