This is a triple dip for this film from Blue Underground but this one’s in HD! Normally a third time release would be frustrating but this one’s a completely different media than the previous releases. Those buying blu-rays exclusively should get a chance at buying this one if they are into this sort of thing, and we’re into it!
Daughters of Darkness is a re-envisioning of the story of the Countess Dracula, who was said to bathe in blood in order to stay youthful. In this film a young newlywed couple is traveling by train to meet the husband’s mother. As things happen, they miss a connection and have to stay the night in an eerily empty, but quite extravagant hotel. There they meet Countess Bathory and her, well it is a European film, let’s say her friend. From here out a game is afoot full of lies and sex and as expected murder.
This film is destined to disappoint a lot of people. Those looking for a gory vampire film will not find it here and those looking for an edgy exploitation film will be disappointed too. There is nudity, some being the full frontal variety, but with all the kissing and touching there’s no real or simulated sex scene in the film. This film is also much slower paced than you might expect. What I find most interesting about the film is the mix of influences. The film was made in a time when Hammer Films could do no wrong and Daughters of Darkness is obviously looking that direction with its heavy splashes of color and its infusion of eroticism. Also apparent are the Euro-trash influences, the modern time but 1930’s costumes and the out of time setting and lighting. The biggest failing of the film is the genre in which it is placed. If this were called an erotic thriller rather than a horror film, the audience would be better prepared for the film they are about to view. It’s well acted and overall well executed for what it’s trying to be, if just a little slow moving. Fans looking for a different more subtle approach to the traditional vampire story may want to give this one a look. There is a bit of blood, and a good bit of nudity, but it doesn’t get too gory, and the sex scenes never get too edgy. The film is more about atmosphere and sexual energy, and in that it succeeds in spades.
The Blood Spattered Bride is included on a second disc in this package. This film tells the story in a slightly gorier more exploitative way. While this film isn’t overall as artistic or lavish feeling as Daughters of Darkness it does offer up the goods as far as exploitation and gore are concerned. It’s an interesting counterpoint to the subtle presentation of Daughters of Darkness. Unfortunately this film does plod on a bit, so maybe it’s just something about this particular story….
The 1080p widescreen presentation is quite good at representing the vivid colors of the film but in darker scenes detail does drop a good bit and grain is an issue throughout the film. The same goes for the bonus film. This HD presentation looks like the original DVD version just amped up to HD. Everything is noticebly better including detail and color. It’s still not perfect but it’s as good as we can hope for.
The film comes to us in DTS HD mono and overall it sounds great with a clean mix of dialogue score and fx. It’s definitely no frills but it truly sounds like an HD presentation of the audio as it was meant to be heard when it was originally in theaters.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The single disc blu-ray comes in a standard amaray case with artwork from the original Daughters of Darkness poster. The cover art is quite gorgeous and does a find job of representing the film.
There are a number of features to support the film all taken from the original DVD release. First up are two feature length audio commentaries. The first is with Director/co-writer Harry Kumel and the second is with star John Karlen and journalist David Del Valle. Both commentaries offer some great behind the scenes information but I actually preferred the second as it seemed to stay more active having the journalist to keep things moving along.
“Locations of Darkness” is an interesting interview with the director and co-writer/producer of the film. They discuss the process of making the film and the locations they used. They also offer up a couple of really good behind the scenes anecdotes. “Playing the Victim” is a featurette that’s really just an interview with female star Danielle Ouimet. That featurette along with “Daughter of Darkness” and interview with Andrea Rau offer the female perspective on making the film with good discussion of doing nude scenes and how they were just getting to be more prevalent in that era of filmmaking.
There’s also a trailer and radio spots. Fans of this film will really enjoy what turns out to be a solid and fascinating mix of bonus features. The only problem is that there’s noting here new and special for the blu-ray. In fact the last DVD release of the film came with a second disc featuring another film!
Fans of lesbian tinged vampire films will definitely pick this one up, especially with the bonus film included. Those looking for something a little more “old school” in terms of telling a vampire story should also take a look.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 7.5/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 9/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10