Monday, July 26, 2010

cherry lips.

Daughters Of Darkness (AKA Blood on the Lips, The Promise of Red Lips. 1971)
Dir: Harry Kümel
Cast: Daniele Ouimet, John Karlen, Delphine Seyrig and Andrea Rau.

"I feel it in my bones, the night is dying..."

After enjoying a lovely honeymoon in 'The Europe', the newly-wed couple, mousy Valerie (Ouimet from the instantly forgettable The Possession of Virginia) and her husband, the grumpy (but tres manly) Tom Skerrit-alike Stefan (Cagney and Lacey's Karlen) end up stuck in a dodgy, off season hotel on their way home to dear old Blighty to begin a new life of cricket, cream tea and houseboy buggering.

Vowing to make the best of the situation, the pair unpack their belongings and head down for dinner where they come across (not in that way, well not yet) the hotel's only other guest, a beautiful (in an old ladyish way) countess named Elizabeth Bathory (the late, great and fairly legendary Seyrig) and her drop dead sexy servant, the luscious, librarian-like Ilona (my first ever Barclays, Rau, measurements 35-22-35 fact fans).

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Sexy man! sexy man! does
whatever a sexy man can!

"I can't tell you how completely happy I am to have you here tonight. You are both so perfect. So good-looking. So sweet." The countess purrs as she eyes Valerie up over the cheese board.

Ilona meanwhile, just gazes at Stefan, licking her full blood red lips.


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Oh to be 14 again...

I don't know about you, but if I was stuck in a rundown Bed and Breakfast with only Countess Blood, Elizabeth Bathory herself for company I'd make my farewells and leave.

No matter how hot her 'companion' was.

But then again, I'm not the wife beating, closet bisexual Stefan, who after spending his first weeks of wedded bliss thrashing Valerie with a belt in between ringing his secret male lover (whom he calls 'mother') whilst wanking into a soiled tissue before tearfully scoffing a Chicken Chow Mien Pot Noodle is looking for a break from his routine.

Valerie, it has to be said, doesn't help matters, seeing as she passes the time just nodding at her hubbie and occasionally trying to unzip his trousers whilst staring into space, her head tilted at a strange (yet not unattractive angle).

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Hang about! Look out! It's vampy gran!

But the cold, barren emptiness of the surrounding area (and the fact that the waltzers are shut and that they can't buy any candyfloss anywhere) means the couple have no choice but to hang about with countess and Ilona (well, it's either that or sit playing cards with the toothless concierge all night) and when not lunching together, Stefan is shouting at Valerie or looking lustfully at the countess, not realising it's Valerie she has in her sights.

"Patience," whispers the Countess as she strokes Ilona's ample thigh. "Patience."

My word.

Just when you think the movie has forgotten it's actually a vampire film (and you begin to think that it's slow build up to vamp on housewife action is just there to tease you) a bicycle riding wannabe Van Helsing turns up at the hotel looking for vampires and almost immediately deduces that the Countess is one of the bloodsucking undead.

Did her name give her away perchance?

Unfortunately not, it was the fact standing in front of a huge mirror whilst chatting to him casting no reflection as she did so that blew her cover.

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"Lyndsey DePaul, up the casino, 1971.....yesch!"

The Countess, obviously worried that this badly dressed interloper could spoil her chances of some readers wives style action plots a cunning way to get rid of our vamp vanquishing pal.

But alas, that must have been to complicated to set in motion seeing as the next day she decides to just run him down whilst he's riding his bike.

Fair enough.

Why Chris Lee never thought of doing this to Peter Cushing I will never know.

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"Is that a stake in your pocket
or have you got a huge erection?"

Whilst all this bicycle based excitement has been going on, Stefan has become 'involved' with (OK...been shagging behind his wife's back) Ilona (and in gloriously lit colour too...ah to be a teenager again) and, being a good clean boy decides to have a saucy post sex shower.

Unfortunately Ilona has forgotten to mention that being a vampire she has an uncontrollable fear of running water (in Stefan's defence, it's not something you think about asking a new girlfriend is it?) and begins screaming and struggling in absolute terror as he tries to tickle her with the loofah.

Managing to break free from Stefan's manly grasp she slips on a bar of soap before accidentally falling onto an open razor.


"'s a stake".

With her
long-time companion dead (and killed by a man to boot), how will the countess react?

And given the choice between cock and quim, what will Valerie choose?

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Kissy lips (fancy trainers not shown).

Harry Kümel’s Daughters of Darkness is a great example of a film you sneakily watched as a kid (phwooar...breasts! girl on girl action! etc.) when Channel four showed it in the 80's but then, as you got older you can pretend to appreciate in a totally different way and on a more intellectual level.

Obviously that means you can still love the girl on girl stuff as well as Andrea Rau naked and wet but with more mature eyes, less sexist eyes.


Back to the movie and it's a credit to cinematographer Eduard van der Enden (he of Het huis, Op de Hollandse toer and De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel fame) that Daughters Of Darkness never once betrays its (incredibly) low budget, full as it is of sweeping vistas, perfectly framed stark lonely locations, the eroded, gothic splendour of the hotel mirroring the old worldiness of the countess.

Oh and of course he makes Andrea Rau's perfectly formed arse look magnificent.

Almost as magnificent as the acting from the four leads, from the aforementioned Andrea Rau as the perfectly curvaceous Louise Brooks-alike Ilona; all wistful looks, fluttery eyelashes topped off (tho' not literally mind) with a pair of frankly magnificent breasts to John Karlen's sadistic bastard of a hubbie, Danielle Ouimet's doe eyed wife on the verge of a breakdown and the amazingly seductive Delphine Seyrig as Bathory, a performance that mixes icy European charm, breeding and wit with an underlying air of almost animalistic menace and an unmovable hair-sprayed bouffant.

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"Are you local?"

Stylishly sexy and hip without trying, Daughters of Darkness pre-dates the cultural 'Vampire revolution' started by movies like The Hunger and Teevee fare like Ultraviolet by almost 20 years, and the lack of accepted 'vampire lore' (fangs, shape changing and the like) just adds to the movies unique feel. It's almost as if the (very real) couple have stumbled into a nightmarish Grimm fairytale for adults; where the gingerbread is twice as nice and the evil stepmother is far hotter than the virginal Snow White.

Tho' not as hot as her maid tho'.

1 comment:

Dr Blood said...

For years I thought I was the only person who even knew that this film existed. I think we both watched it at the same age too.

Oh yeah, the brunette one...