Blue Underground has provided superb home video releases of cult favorites, but they are ahead of the game by provided 4K upgrades. While the big distributors have been doing this for years, the specialty collector’s market is just now making their mark in Ultra HD. Most notably, Blue Underground has already released Zombie and Maniac in 4K and now they have ventured into the deeper cuts with this bulky release of DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.
Honeymooners Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) are celebrating at a grand hotel in Belgium. It’s from there they plan on catching a trip to England, but it’s quickly apparent that Stefan is procrastinating introducing Valerie to his mother. Making this even more awkward, there’s a string of local murders of women and Stefan takes an unusual fascination, almost in an aroused fashion. The primarily empty hotel gets a surprise visit from Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and her assistant, Ilona (Andrea Rau). In true haunted fashion, the hotel manager claims to have seen the countess there several years ago, but she looks the exact same age as she did then. Quickly, the countess takes notice of the newlyweds and places herself into their relationship, causing conflict both emotional and supernatural.
While is not a pornographic movie, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS can be classified as an adult horror. Yes, there is sex and nudity, but it’s essential to the themes of sexual awakening and some of the violent imagery. There’s an emphasis more on the drama between the characters versus your typical horror cinematics, but that’s what draws fans of the movie. It feels like an erotic soap opera, mixed in with vampire lore. It’s slower-paced than most genre films, but it works due to screen grabbing performances from our leads. They believe their stories so we get drawn in. There’s trouble in paradise for this couple despite just getting married and the countess is ready to play therapist in her own sinister manner. There’s a not so pleasant side to love, that side that can be too uncomfortable to verbally communicate, but DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS explores that utilizing genre tropes.
The 4K transfer shines unsurprisingly in brightly lit scenes, most notably moments in the hotel lobby. That’s not to shy away from the blue-tinted love scene that opens the film. DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS is a great example of high definition transfers and their effect on older gothic cinematography. Colors pop, even if they have their grainy spots, but this latest release is a promising look at what upgrades can be achieved with lesser-known movies. Blue Underground is aware that sometimes it may be asking their customers to double-dip, but not only is there a noticeable upgrade in picture quality, there is also new commentary exclusive to this release.
Author of “Devil’s Advocates: Daughters of Darkness,” Kat Ellinger comes off right away as a passionate fan of the film, speaking enthusiastically about the history of vampires on film, especially when it comes to gender representation. Previous commentaries with cast and crew are also included. Archival interviews with stars Danielle Ouimet and Andrea Rau are also included as well as a revisit to the hotel with co-writers Harry Kumel and Pierre Drouot. In addition to all this, there’s also a 20-page booklet with writing from Michael Gingold and a 22 track soundtrack CD.
DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS has a new 4K release that most genre films deserve, packed with special features and multiple discs, making this a must-have purchase for fans.