Friday, June 3, 2016


“I’m just an outmoded character, nothing more. You know, the beautiful stranger, slightly sad, slightly…mysterious...that haunts one place after another.” 

In spite of their vast number and long history, I’m not sure I can name even five vampire movies I like. There’s Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1974), Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), The Hunger (1983), and… OK, looks like I hit the wall at three. Well, make that four; for topping this very short list and ranking #1 as my absolute favorite vampire movie of all time is Belgian director Harry Kümel’s sleek, sexy, and exceedingly stylish Daughters of Darkness.

A Belgian/French/Italian/U.S. co-production, Daughters of Darkness combines—with wit and flair—‘70s arthouse sophistication with good ol’ grindhouse exploitation in the telling of a modern-day Countess Dracula myth set in a desolate, cavernous hotel in Belgium. Conceived as a strictly commercial venture contingent on the internationally market-friendly ingredients of bosoms and bloodshed, Daughters of Darkness, in the hands of Harry Kümel (whose other work I’m unfamiliar with) undergoes a kind of alchemic transformation. A transformation wherein the alternatively limiting factors of a low budget, brief shooting schedule, somewhat trashy material, and a minimal cast of unevenly-skilled actors with clashing accents—become the very elements that, when combined, contribute the most to defining the offbeat allure and eerie fascination of this film.
Delphine Seyrig as Countess Elizabeth Bathory
John Karlen as Stefan Chilton
Danielle Ouimet as Valerie Chilton
Andrea Rau as Ilona Harczy
Paul Esser as Pierre
When the train of a honeymooning couple jumps the track (literally and metaphorically), the pair, having wed in Switzerland just three hours hence and now en route to England, is temporarily waylaid in Ostend, Belgium. Stefan, the groom (Karlen), strangely reluctant to reach their destination and have his bride Valerie (Ouimet) meet her aristocratic mother-in-law, suggests a brief stay at an off-season beach resort where they are the only guests.“It’s rather dead around here this time of the year, intones Pierre (Paul Esser) the concierge.

That is, until night falls and an exquisite, 1940s vintage Bristol motorcar arrives at the hotel, from which emerge a mysterious, vaguely predatory, smoky-voiced Hungarian countess (Seyrig) and her exotically overripe “secretary,” (Ilona (Rau). Descending upon the establishment like a couple of, well...vampire bats, upon catching sight of our unwitting honeymooners (who, given the degree of duplicity and discord already manifest between the two, appear to have met and married in haste) our chichi new guests immediately lay claim. 
"...both so perfect. So good-looking. So sweet."
The concierge recognizes the unchanged Countess from 40 years earlier,
when he was just a young bellboy at the hotel

Veiling steely determination behind a charming smile and the kind of languid savior faire unique to the very rich and well-traveled, the glamorously debauched countess wastes no time insinuating herself into the lives of the newlyweds (think Eva Gabor as Marlene Dietrich cast as a lesbian Auntie Mame). Corruption of the innocent is the goal and possession of that which is most desired is the objective, but the countess and her protégé soon find the path to seduction is not without its obstructions.

There’s the persistent interference of the suspicious and bewildered hotel concierge who always seems to materialize on the periphery of the action (“He’s already up…when does he sleep?” snaps the countess at one point). And then there’s that other figure from the countess’ past, a retired policeman (Georges Jamin) engaged in the amateur investigation of a recent rash of murders of young women.
But it is Stefan, the not-quite better half of our virtuous couple, who may not be all that he seems. Sharing with the countess an eerily simpatico affinity for brutality and the hypnotic allure of decadence, Stephan is both match and pawn to the countess’ femme fatale charm. And true to form, Stephan is yet another self-assured male who enters into a game thinking he holds all the cards, only to discover that the women in his life have rewritten the rules.
The Happy Couple
Both Roman Polanski (Bitter Moon) & Paul Schrader (The Comfort of Strangers ) have made 
interesting films about debauched couples intent on seducing innocent, unsuspecting couples

Daughters of Darkness is a knowing (and sometimes winking) take on the vampire film, alternately sending up and paying homage to a genre that, by the '70s, was in dire need of a transfusion. In playing it straight, yet with a touch of clever malice, the film‒not unlike the countess herself ‒ exists tantalizingly between two worlds: it’s both a deliberately leisurely, aesthetic horror film and an amusingly camp Eurotrash skin flick. The unified benefit to each is that the arty side never has the chance to become pretentious, and the exploitation side is surprisingly, refreshingly restrained and imbued with a great deal of sophistication and sly wit.

Stylistically, Daughters of Darkness is a knockout, making subtle visual reference to other genre films and cinema in general. Among them: Hitchcock’s Psycho, Garbo, Louise Brooks, the horror tropes of F. W. Murnau and Tod Browning, and Dietrich’s von Sternberg collaborations. It's a film so comfortable in its self-awareness that at one point a character (the detective) breaks the fourth wall, looks directly into the camera and identifies the film's tone and wry perspective.
Georges Jamin as the Retired Policeman reminds us not to take what is to follow too seriously
 “The kind of thing you read about in medieval manuscripts. You know, silly tales about ghosts chased away by garlic…and vampires shrinking from crosses and running water and daylight. Satan’s ritual under a full moon.”
The neoclassic opulence of the desolate Belgian sea resort makes for a picturesque alternative to the usual gothic vampire castle, while the desolate backdrop of a vacation spot in the bleakness of winter predates Nicolas Roeg’s similar use of Venice, Italy in the 1974 supernatural thriller Don’t Look Now (especially the scene where Stefan & Valerie explore the canals of Bruges and happen upon the scene of a brutal murder). 

I can’t attest as to what a horror/vampire film fan makes of Daughters of Darkness (my sense is that it’s too slow and lacking in scares and gore to be satisfying), but everything about this movie is as suited to my tastes as a Ken Russell-Roman Polanski film festival.

There’s a kind of predictable, to-be-expected adherence to form and structure that comes with the territory of genre films. Filmmakers deviate from it at their own risk. As a movie fan, I can’t help but give historical credit to horror films in general for their vast stylistic influence on the art form, as such. But as a non-fan of vampire films, it helped a great deal that I came to Daughters of Darkness with little in the way of expectations and devoid of an awareness of any vampire film "traditions" I longed to see upheld. I simply hoped the film wouldn’t live up to its limp U.S. ad campaign and that cheesy title, which made the film sound like a made-for-TV movie starring Donna Mills and Kay Lenz. 
To my delight, Daughters of Darkness proved to be one happy surprise after another. It felt both old-fashioned and invigoratingly fresh. An arty exploitation film that I fell in love with the moment Delphine Seyrig’s elegant vampire makes her memorable entrance.
"I want to be loved. I want everybody to love me."
In addition to what I find irresistible about the concept of Daughters of Darkness (for my money, female vampires are just waaaay cooler than their male counterparts) is the way it looks. I would stylistically compare it to the works of Roman Polanski and Ken Russell. Director Harry Kümel, who has stated he was influenced a great deal by surreal and expressionist cinema in devising a look for the film, gives Daughters of Darkness an operatic theatricality reminiscent of Ken Russell (as much as its meager budget allows). The vivid use of color abounds (pointedly, red, black, and white) and the compositions are arresting in their beauty and in creating atmosphere. 
The similarities to Polanski arise out of the film’s measured pacing, claustrophobic atmosphere, and emphasis on psycho-sexual conflict. Manipulation is indistinguishable from seduction. Evasion is revelatory. Pain is pleasure. Harry Kümel has taken stock characters and genre tropes and created one of the most gleefully sleek, consistently surprising, intriguingly stylish horror films I’ve ever seen. 
Worthy of Polanski
A nightmarish shot of the pre-dawn disposal of a dead body as two figures
 (looking like winged creatures in black & white) retreat into the distance

Successful casting is always a result of a great deal more than simply hiring capable actors. Many an enjoyable film has been populated with folks who couldn’t act their way out of a broom closet (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), while numerous stinkers feature casts who have to move their Oscar & Tony Awards out of the way to get to the door (August: Osage County). It's easy to understand why Kümel was able to secure financing for Daughters of Darkness exclusively due to the participation of French film star Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad); she is the main reason the film is worth seeing at all. Everything about the film – from décor, cinematography, screenplay, and supporting cast – feels as though it is in service of and silent acquiescence to, her extraordinary presence and canny performance. She’s really that good, and so incredibly fascinating to watch.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm
Stefan is brought to a state of ecstasy recounting the bloody atrocities of Elizabeth's ancestor

Possessing an unforgettably seductive voice, Seyrig conducts herself with a kind of otherworldly regal aplomb making plausible the film’s conceit that her character is not (as she claims) the ancestor of Countess Elizabeth Bathory (a notorious true-life 15th-century serial killer) but the genuine, ageless article.
Best of all, Seyrig’s characterization is a refreshing interpretation of the female vampire. She dispenses with the clichés of the predatory vamp or femme fatale (no dark, sultry gazes or feline stalking); rather, she plays Countess Bathory as though she were a pampered cinema queen: eager to please, desperate to be liked, all disarming smiles and solicitous attentions, yet underneath it all, a despotic monster. 
"I wish I could die."
Another personal fave in the film is Ilona, the countess' pouty companion with the sexy 3-D lips. As embodied by German pinup model/actress Andrea Rau (who lends camp appeal by resembling a kewpie-doll Sally Bowles) her limitations as an actress are more than compensated for by her striking presence, appealing screen charisma, and a vague "otherness" that comes across in stilted line readings befitting her status as an alluringly louche member of the undead.
My general antipathy toward vampires accounts for my not recognizing - until fairly recently - actor John Karlen as Willie Loomis of the popular mid-60s vampire TV soap opera Dark Shadows (I was practically the only kid in my school who didn't watch it). As Stefan, Brooklyn-born Karlen, the only American in the cast, oozes so much Eurotrash skeeviness, I always assumed he was European. So, on that score at least, he certainly succeeds, and gives a solid, tensely mercurial performance.
Though it pains me to say so, hands-down prizes for the film's worst performance go to former Miss Quebec, Danielle Ouimet. It pains me because Ms. Ouiment’s barely discernible acting ability (she’s singularly inexpressive of voice and face) strangely works to her advantage in the context of the film. Surrounded by the morally desiccated people in a surreal environment under fantastic circumstances, Ouimet’s somewhat dazed countenance comes off as stylized and subtextural; as though the sole character in the film in possession of a soul is the one least able to express emotion.
"Be sure to tell the young woman 'Mother' sends regards."
Stefan is revealed to be the kept "Ilona" in a homosexual May/December pairing.
The feared "Mother" is portrayed by Dutch film director Fons Rademakers

Whether considered an arty trash film or a trashy art film (I personally think it’s a special kind of high-style pop masterpiece), Daughters of Darkness is a great deal of campy fun. I know next to nothing about Harry Kümel, but were I to go by the way this film makes me feel and how it engages me with its visuals, its sharp screenplay (credited to Kümel, Jean Ferry, Pierre Druot, and Manfred R. Köhler), and Seyrig’s knowing evocation of the film sirens of yesteryear; I would say he is a man who not only loves movies but understands them. It’s evident in every frame.

I'm a sucker (Hee hee!) for thematic a visual duality in movies

Les Lèvres Rouges (Red Lips) is just one of Daughter of Darkness' 14 international titles
Ever the illusionist, Elizabeth carries a mirrored compact despite (her being a vampire and all) not being able to see her own reflection

Apropos of the timeless beauty of Seyrig's Countess Bathory herself, Daughters of Darkness is a film that looks better to me with each passing year. Save for a rather harrowing shower scene and a still-creepy nighttime burial sequence, the sex and violence that once seemed so sensational is now rather tame. Similarly, with movies now becoming faster and busier, yet saying less; the deliberate pacing of Daughters of Darkness feels like a welcome extravagance.
Even the film's camp elements, in this age of overkill and overdetermination, sparkles on a far more ingenious plane than what I seem to remember ("Good day to be alive, eh?" remarks the countess in forced jocularity to the concierge upon returning to the hotel after a particularly grisly homicidal outing).
It's Not Easy Having A Good Time
In the end, you've got to hand it to a director told to go out and make a commercial film with plenty of sex and violence, and he comes back with an erotic expressionist feminist lesbian arthouse camp vampire horror mini-classic.

Director Harry Kümel talks about Daughters of Darkness in the excellent BBC documentary Horror Europa (2012) by Mark Gattis. He's the first director interviewed, and he sheds fascinating light on the reasons behind his choices for the look of the countess and the dominance of the colors red, black, and white. 

I also understand that the DVD release is loaded with commentaries and extras.
*6/10/16 Update - Just watched the DVD and listened to Harry Kümel's commentary. Incredible evidence that one can be handed a genre film and still imbue it with an aesthetic sensibility. Of course, I especially love when he says "Films are not reality...they are dreams. They are the stuff that dreams are made of." A man after my own heart.

Copyright © Ken Anderson   2009 - 2016


  1. My favorite line from your review: "I only hoped it wouldn’t live up to its limp US ad campaign and cheesy title, which sounds like a made-for-TV movie starring Donna Mills and Kay Lenz."

    Perfect! That had me cracking up at work.

    I really enjoyed this when I saw it the first time. I'm not sure, however, it's one I'd enjoy as much via repeated viewings. Here's my review from my Netflix account that I wrote many years ago and only a few minutes after watching the movie for the first time. AT the time there were very few reviews posted (less than 10, now there are 64) on the page and I was pretty much reacting to some of the pseudo-intellectual BS I had read.

    "I think the writers [Kumel and Drouot] would laugh uproariously at the thought that their "trashy, pulpy, genre movie" (those are their words!) was a important feminist work of the 70s as some other reviewer wrote here. I'm laughing right now. This is gorgeously photographed, brilliantly colorful and thoroughly creepy movie. I don't think there are any metaphors here. WYSIWYG. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as Freud said. And sometimes a woman desiring a woman is just that. Or, in this case, a vampire desiring a woman. Delphine Seyrig is truly the only reason to watch this. Her mesmerizing performance is a tribute to Dietrich (her inspiration for much of the physicality and her overall look). She poses, seduces, commands, controls in a way that no other vampire character has done in film up to this point. (I'm not talking about anything made after 1971.) It's all perfect. I also liked the absence of gore, the emphasis on suggestion and atmosphere. It was the first stylish vampire movie. After watching the movie be sure to watch all the interviews in the Extras segment. Two of them (the one with the writer/director and writer/producer and another with Danielle Ouimet who is a funny, funny woman these days!) are chock full of great stories. The one with Andrea Rau, however, revealed her to be a bit egotistical and she may have told a lot of lies."

    1. Hi John

      Thanks…anyone familiar with 70s TV movies can’t help but relate to both the title and (fake) cast as being all-too-probable.

      I enjoyed your take on the film and think you’re very fair-handed in praising what you liked. You can’t be blamed for wanting to quell a little feverish fandom by way of counterpoint.
      It’s a reaction I’ve had when I’ve heard fans imbuing Star Wars or Star Trek (and god help me, Batman and Superman) with all these spiritual and philosophical attributes. It reminded me too much of the auteurist film critics of the 70s who would befuddle talented but gun-for-hire studio-system directors by informing them of the subtext of their films (usually met by a statement like “That shot was lit that way because somebody knocked over the key light.”).
      But as I’ve grown older I’ve come to better appreciate that what a filmmaker intends (or doesn’t) and how a viewer subjectively interprets it, need not be at all on the same page. I believe a great deal of what is communicated in any art form is subliminal and ofttimes accidental. Once a film is released, I don’t know that I think any viewer is at all hidebound to concern him/herself with a director’s intention. It’s a personal, subjective experience. And as long as the person doesn’t go around attributing specific things to a director as though it were fact (insinuating awareness of the action of a director’s mind) I think a person can read into and interpret a film in any way authentic to their emotional response to it.
      Like when I was in film school and heated arguments would erupt over whether Seyrig’s “Last Year at Marienbad” was an unequivocal masterpiece or an Emperor’s New Clothes arthouse con job. I was always surprised no teacher ever said it was perfectly OK for some people to find it profound at the very same time others may find it idiotic.

      By the way, I've put this on my Neflix queue...based on your description, I so want to hear the commentary and interviews. Thanks, John!

  2. One more thing... Now that you've seen this movie by Kümel you ought to see Malpertuis, one of the strangest horror films ever made adapted from one of the strangest neo-Gothic novels ever written. Highlights include Susan Hampshire playing four different roles and Orson Welles in one of most absurd, self-parodying acting roles. The extras on the DVD I watched were very amusing and enlightening as well. But make sure you see the director's cut in the original Flemish and with English subtitles not the hacked to pieces, utterly incomprehensible, English dubbed version.

    1. Hi again John
      Thanks for the recommendation...that's ANOTHER film I just put on my Netflix list. I hadn't heard anything about it, but you make it sound intriguing. I hope it's the director's cut (I always have the most hellish time trying to search movies on Netflix...unless I want a low budget action or horror flick...the site is overrun with them). Thanks again!

    2. I rented the DVD from Netflix and you should have no problem. It was a two sided disc (remember those?) and had the original on one side and the English dubbed edited version on the other. Just make sure you watch the correct side.

    3. Very excited to listen to the commentary and should be getting my copy in a day or so. Didn't know about it being a double-sided disc (I still have a couple) and, it being a film I know so well, I'm actually looking forward to seeing how the dubbed, edited version plays.

  3. When I was going to school in Syracuse in the 70s, a big treat was triple horror shows at the drive in. Typically, the three movies would be a current release (like Phantasm), a cheap-to-rent "evergreen" that seemed constantly in release (Night of the living dead, Don't look in the Basement), and an unknown European flick to round out the bill. That was how I first saw Daughters of Darkness.

    Not the best environment for such a slow, moody piece, but, wow, I was drawn right in. (At least, as the last feature, the sky was completely dark, so the beautiful cinematography wasn't completely lost.) It may have helped that my attitude toward 70s European horror movies was "don't expect this to make any logical sense," so I just went along with the images and languid tone. When I rewatched it years later, it was one of those movies where I was shocked how much was burned into my memory.

    Also: Delphine Seyrig. Between DoD, Stolen Kisses, and The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie, she is one of my favorites. Absolutely luminous.

    Like you, I didn't connect John Karlen with Willie Loomis until years later (he was the husband on Cagney and Lacey as well).

    Not much to add--been a few years since I've seen it--but you're right how it strikes the right balance between art and exploitation. Justification of my love for trashy horror movies during those years.

    1. Hi MDG
      Really love your taking me back to a time when there were actual drive-ins, and there were such things as triple horror features! (Although I've never seen it, I remember "Phantasm" always appearing somewhere.)
      Did you actually stay awake for all three?
      (That's my age my youth I could watch four movies in a row effortlessly. Now I binge watch Frankie and grace and fall asleep during the second episode.)

      I didn't see "Daughters of Darkness" at a theater at all (which I regret). I avoided it for so long until one night it was on cable TV in the 90s, and, like you I settled in not expecting much.
      It was the edited US version, but I was floored. I had seen Seyrig in "Marienbad" and "Discreet Charm", but this became my favorite. Luminous is the right word.

      Oh, and until I researched this essay, I didn't even know Karlen was in "Cagney & Lacy" he seems to have a changeable face!
      Thanks for sharing your memory of the first time seeing this film. I'm envious of it being a drive in. Outdoors in the dark...such a perfect setting for watching a vampire movie!

    2. Specifically, Karlen seems to have William Devane's face!

    3. Ha! I think you have something there...

  4. You didn't mention one of the most unusual things about this movie: the fades to red.

    For richly colored horror: have you seen Suspiria?

    And for worthwhile vampire movies: What We Do in the Shadows, Let The Right One In, and the truly horrifying Trouble Every Day. Yup, chills just typing it.

    1. Hey Allen
      Yes! Those blood-red fade-outs are not only gorgeous, but so striking, stylistically speaking. I can only think of a couple of movies (Die Die My Darling being one...perhaps some Hammer film) that ever used a red or color fade-out. And usually it was just once -not throughout a film.
      Funny you should mention "Susperia" because I only recently acquired it and have yet to take a look. I saw it on cable TV many years ago and really don't recall a thing, but I understand the restored DVD is beautiful.

      Thanks for the vampire film recommendations, however, if they're as scary as you say, I may have to hold off until Halloween when my screams won't draw attention to myself.

    2. I'll be interested in what you think of Suspiria--definitely a "check your logic at the door" movie, and I'm not a fan of the soundtrack, but there are some gorgeous images.

      I recently found a YouTube channel that has nice copies of lesser-known giallos and other Italian horror/crime flicks, and I've basically been hooked on them the past couple weeks.

    3. I'm curious myself. Chiefly because I'm curious to discover if there is a reason why I have absolutely no memory of it after having seen it once (on cable TV sometime in the 90s). I'm a big fan of Jessica Harper, and the film has such a cult following; so why did it fail to lodge itself somewhere in my memory. Maybe the richness of the digitally restored DVD will help.
      As for giallos, I don't know the channel you speak of, but I discovered a few on YouTube and they have been fascinating!

  5. Terrific recommendations from others commenting. I saw Daughters of Darkness at a drive-in as well. My co-feature though was Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. Tonally, I think it’s a pretty good double bill, and if you haven’t seen that one, I’d recommend it. Highly!

    One of the DVD documentaries for DoD is a revisit to the hotel. At the time of the DVD release, it was still standing, and in business. You’re really going to want to stay there.

    As for the beguiling Delphine Seyrig, when Last Year at Marienbad was shown at the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York City, in the early 80s, a reel was out of order and no one noticed. I do admire that movie very much, but I think my favorite Seyrig is Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman. A marathon performance, and if one is prepared for it, it’s completely immersive.

    1. Hi Max
      Another Drive-In horror movie experience! I'm jealous!
      And a nice double-bill, too. "Jessica" is another one I didn't see until later (MUCH the 2000's), but I liked it (Zohra Lampert is a favorite) and always thought it would have been super scary to me had I seen it when all that post-Manson hippie creepiness was still in the air.
      That's very amusing about "Marienbad" and I can't help think such a thing HAD to have happened more than once.
      And thanks for sharing your opinion on "Jeanne Dielman"...I came across it online and wondered about it, perhaps now I'll check it out.
      Good to hear from you, Max! Thanks!

  6. I saw Daughters of Darkness in the early nineties at the now-defunct and much-missed Scala cinema in Kings Cross (the London equivalent of a grindhouse theatre. They used to show double bills of Warhol, Waters, Russ Meyer, Kenneth Anger, etc in its heyday). It made a vivid impression. Some of the images are seared in my brain! Hadn’t seen it in over twenty years and the hip gay bar The Glory here in London recently organised a screening of it – so I finally got to re-visit Daughters of Darkness. What a truly great and original art movie! They did an unusual thing at The Glory: they screened Daughters of Darkness with no audio and the subtitles on, and the musician Helen Noir provided a live eerie electronic soundtrack as the film unfolded. It was mesmerising! Delphine Seyrig is truly spectacular in it.

    1. I wish i could remember what kind of theater played "Daughters of Darkness" when it was first released in SF in 1971. It's just as likely it opened oat one of the grindhouses on Market street as one of the arthouses which showed Warhol and John Waters movies.

      The silent screening you describe really sounds kind of marvelous. I have yet to see this beautiful film on a big screen, but would love to have seen it in such a unique way as you describe. It must have been mesmerizing!
      Since posting this piece, I've become re-infatuated with Seyrig and acquired several of her films that slipped by me in the past. Spectacular is the word!

  7. No one did "nouvelle Dietrich" quite as stylishly as Seyrig! The high point of The Glory's screening was the sequence where the gleaming black Bentley (or whatever it was!) pulls up to the hotel at night carrying Bathory and we start getting our initial glimpses of her veiled face in the shadows. It keeps cutting to crashing waves as if nature is recoiling at her arrival and Helen Noir (who has a remarkable voice) started doing these increasingly urgent wordless gasping vocals - very dramatic!

    1. I love her entrance! When she flashes that beautiful smile from beneath that veil...just gorgeous. Also, someone needs to do a video mix of all the screen sirens who have done one of those "leg extends from the limousine" entrances (Streisand in The Main Event, Dunaway in Eyes of Laura Mars...OK, I got the ball rolling).

  8. Hello Ken, this movie sounds fascinating! I haven't seen it but I saw a picture of it in a book about 70's cinema and it made a memorable impression. It seems quite decadent and eery in that existentialist european art film kind of way. In other words I have to see this film!

    Hopefully the Cinemateket in Stockholm could screen it one day, otherwise there are no cinemas that show these kinds of films in Sweden. Everyone here tends to want to stream the latest movies at home instead of watching older classics with others who share the same tastes. I want to check out that bar in London or even better: open my own in Stockholm!

    You pick the most interesting films to review and I adore reading your opinions about them. Keep writing! - Wille

    1. Hello, Wille
      You really are always so very nice. Thank you, sincerely. I'm always gratified when you say a certain film I've written about piques your interest, especially since I write from such a personal perspective and do not intend to "recommend" anything it just so happens I enjoy.
      I Googled the! What a beautiful screening space! If I lived in Stockholm I would be one of those folks you refer to who prefer to screen movies at home! Such a change from my younger years...when I used to relish the shared movie experience.

      This film has exactly the European art film quality you describe, and it would look absolutely amazing on the big screen. With your passion for movies, you eclectic taste, and appreciation for both the subtle and the extravagant in film; I would imagine you would do well opening a cine/bar in Stockholm.
      By the way, it's not possible for Stockholm to be as breathtakingly beautiful as it looks in those Google maps photos, is it? looks like the most spectacular looking city in the world!

    2. Hi Ken. Even if Stockholm has no small cinemas showing cult movies, it is a very beautiful city. Lots of water surrounding the islands of the city full of old buildings from the 1600s and 1800s. Visit here in summer time. The winters are long and dark. There's very little daylight then but I find that season cosy. That's a good time to stay in and watch dvds with classic movies from the 60's and 70's!

  9. ...Knowing you like interesting and stylish 1970s Euro-trash, I have some recommendations for you:

    1. Robert van Ackeren's very hard to find "Der letzte Schrei" (1975), a German sociale satire about incidents in a corsetry factory gone bankrupt with Delphine Seyrig from "Daughters of Darkness" and Barry Foster from Hitchcock's "Frenzy"!
    As far as I know it's shot in English...

    2. "Harlis" from 1972 ("The Sensuous Three" in the U.S.), also by Mr. van Ackeren, about a damsel in some kind of colorful distress played by gorgeous Mascha Rabben, who you might have come across in Fassbinder's "Welt am Draht".

    3. Glossy French "Madame Claude" from 1976 about "a well connected Parisienne with dark past, running a network of high-class call girls (played by then well-known models like Dayle Haddon and Vibeke Knudsen) who she sends to any place in the world to satisfy sexual desires of wealthy and powerful men" with Françoise Fabian, Murray Head and Klaus Kinski.

    4. Claude Chabrol's atypical and regrettably forgotten "Alice ou la dernière fugue" (Alice or the Last Escapade) from 1977 where Sylvia Kristel (of "Emmanuelle" fame) gets caught in some kind of in-between or purgatory.

    5. The strange Italian "Kleinhoff Hotel" (1977) is about a French woman (Corinne Cléry from "Histoire d'O") who misses her plane to London and is forced to stay at a decayed hotel in Berlin for a night, where she meets and loves a suicidal German leftist radical and his chic girlfriend.

    Try to get hold of these and: Enjoy!

    Richard from Germany

    1. Hi Richard
      Wow! Thank you for this impressive list of unknown-to-me titles. I have been immersed of late in the world of Italian giallo (and loving it), so I am thrilled at the prospect of unearthing more hoped-for favorites. Very kind of you and much appreciated, they all sound SO much up my alley!

    2. Well I guess they are! ;)

      When it comes to "Giallo", THE 2 examples you really have to see before you leave are Dario Argento's "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage" (1970) (please chose a good, clear Bluray version: it's just !gorgeous!) and Bava's "Blood and Black Lace" from 1964, which shows a lot of influence from 1960's "Midnight Lace"'s cinematography (lighting and color) by Russell Metty!

      ...and of course don't forget the American approach with "Dressed to Kill" (1980) and Friedkin's "Cruising" from the same year, which was completely misjudged and greatly underrated (it's slowly gettin better now) and definitely is one of my alltime favourites!

    3. Happily, having gone somewhat overboard in my enthusiasm for the newfound (to me) genre, I have seen all the titles you mentioned. Lovely Blu-Ray copies of the two former. Wonderful stuff!
      I won a copy of "Cruising" and hope to write about it someday, the distancing of time doing a great deal to make the film play a lot better now for me than when it was released.
      Thanks again!

  10. Excellent review of a rather forgotten film that is indeed creepy, stylish and sexy.

    1. Hi Joseph're getting to these older posts faster than I can keep up. Thanks for revisiting and especially for taking the time to leave a comment. I've rewatched DAUGHTERS only one time since writing this, and it really does seem to only get better with time. Creepy, stylish, and sexy, indeed!

  11. i wish i could die. sounds like the title of a hollywood memoir.