Daughters of Darkness is a multi-country co-production — like most European films of the early 1970’s — and was directed by Harry Kumel, who went on to direct only one more film. In France and Belgium the movie was titled The Red Lips, but naturally American audiences needed a more lurid title. The movie stars John Karlen, who went on to play no fewer than six roles on ABC’s Dark Shadows. John plays Stefan, who is newly married to Danielle, and he’s quite an ass. He’s violent to his new wife, really enjoys being the sado- role of S&M (and refuses to even consider a safe word), is fascinated with the recent murders of young women in Bruges, and his mother is actually a man who can best be described as a puffy Bela Lugosi, wearing the same makeup as Joel Gray in Cabaret.
Stephan and Danielle then run into the Countess Bathory — played by the lovely Delphine Seyrig, channeling Marlene Dietrich — and her “companion” Iona, who seems to be channeling a young Isabella Rossellini. Yes, the Countess Bathory is that Countess Bathory, and it’s implied that she is responsible for the deaths of the girls in Bruges. This movie is actually not a bad telling of the Bathory story, and the film is thick with nudity, sex, violence, and murder. Some people die — or don’t, it’s a vampire movie after all — and there’s a mild twist ending which is formulaic but it’s not bad.
Naturally, however, as a knitter, I became fixated on one scene in which the Countess is knitting. Precisely what she is knitting is a mystery. She is using two strands of chunky yarn in different colors on double-point needles. It could be a sock, a hat, a sleeve, a leg warmer. We never find out, though, as the Countess only knits in this one scene, to be forgotten for the rest of the movie. Those kick-ass needles never make a return either. How disappointing for a knitter who otherwise fairly enjoyed this flick.