IMDb > Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Les lèvres rouges
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Daughters of Darkness (1971) More at IMDbPro »Les lèvres rouges (original title)

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Pierre Drouot (scenario) &
Harry Kümel (scenario) ...
View company contact information for Daughters of Darkness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 October 1971 (USA) See more »
An erotic nightmare of vampire lust [DVD] See more »
A newlywed couple are passing through a vacation resort. Their paths cross with a mysterious, strikingly beautiful countess and her aide. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
The scent of absinthe dreaming See more (43 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Directed by
Harry Kümel 
Writing credits
Pierre Drouot (scenario) &
Harry Kümel (scenario)

Jean Ferry (dialogue)

Manfred R. Köhler  uncredited

Produced by
Paul Collet .... producer
Pierre Drouot .... associate producer
Alain C. Guilleaume .... associate producer
Henry Lange .... producer
Luggi Waldleitner .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
François de Roubaix 
Cinematography by
Eduard van der Enden 
Film Editing by
Denis Bonan 
August Verschueren  (as Gust Verschueren)
Hans Zeiler (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Françoise Hardy 
Costume Design by
Bernard Perris 
Makeup Department
Pascale Kellen .... makeup artist
Ulli Ullrich .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Jean-Marie Bertrand .... production manager
Paul Collet .... unit production manager
Will Dellaert .... assistant unit production manager (as Willy Dellaert)
Erwin Gitt .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Arias .... first assistant director
Jean-Marc Turine .... second assistant director
Art Department
Henri Roesems .... property master (as Henry Roesems)
Sound Department
Jacques Eippers .... sound
Jack Jullian .... sound mixer
Hans-Walter Kramski .... foley artist (as Hans W. Krasmki)
Henri Morelle .... boom operator
Special Effects by
Eugene Hendrickx .... special effects
Thierry Hallard .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Peter Anger .... first assistant camera
Claude Decubber .... electrician
Jacques Fondaire .... second assistant camera
Virginia Leirens .... still photographer
Bob Lessenne .... grip
Jan Van Gastel .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Marie-Paule Petignot .... costumer
Editorial Department
Daniel de Valck .... assistant editor (as Daniel Devalk)
Edith Schuman .... assistant editor (as Edith Shumann)
Other crew
Michèle Mehary .... production secretary
Magda Reypens .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Les lèvres rouges" - Belgium (original title)
See more »
USA:100 min (uncut version) | USA:87 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:MA | Canada:18+ (Quebec) (original rating) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) (re-rating) (2005) | Canada:18 (Nova Scotia) (2003) | France:18 | Germany:16 (re-rating) (2013) | Iceland:16 | UK:18 | USA:R | West Germany:18 (cut) (original rating)

Did You Know?

Shot entirely in English, even though the majority of the cast was French, German and Flemish. As opposed to most European "genre" films from the 70s, here none of the actors were post-dubbed by others. They can all be heard with their own voices (resulting in some accents), notably Delphine Seyrig's deep, smoky voice or Andrea Rau's and Paul Messer's German accents.See more »
Countess Bathory:It is since long that I have crossed the river Ocean!See more »
Movie Connections:
Daughters of DarknessSee more »


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
The scent of absinthe dreaming, 20 October 2011
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

Beware as you go into this, it may sound like Hammer but it's nothing like it. It's a chic, stylish vampire film dripping with the most wanton aestheticism. The whole thing exudes the scent of an absinthe dream, the contours of a flowing red dress.

Superficially it is about a couple of newly-weds - but who, as the film opens with them having sex in a train cabin, openly declare that they don't love each other - who find themselves stranded in Ostande and move in to a strangely empty hotel for a few days. A countess Bathory arrives there with her female companion, there's also the baffled concierge who tries to stay out of passion's way.

I say superficially because the dynamics between the couple is what at first sight seems to be driving the story. The woman is desperate to break out from the limbo of anonymous sex and be introduced, thus be legitimized as a wife and woman, to the man's mother, an aristocrat back in England. The man, on the other hand, is content to derail those expectations and savour the erotic dream he has concocted to inhabit.

But of course we come to understand that the narrative is powered from outside. The countess courts both, seducing in the emotional space between them. She personifies that wanton aestheticism right down to her body language. It is important to note that she is played by the actress who starred in Marienbad for Resnais, which this film alludes to; in the mysterious hotel setting with its expansive balustrades, in the twilight wanderings, in the sense of time revoked and sensations amplified.

She is the architect of all this, building around these people the desires that will yield them to her. So it is the man's semi-conscious world of secret pleasures, but it's she who is slowly, slyly perverting them. She does this with the malevolent purity of a femme fatale.

It does not matter that she is Bathory, or that blood is eventually savored from wrists, this is merely the desire made visible in a way that would appeal to a niche audience. So even though Jess Franco borrowed the velvety sunsets and decadent air from this for Vampyros Lesbos, this operates deeper. It matters for example that she seduces the man into a new obsession with violence, the destructive flipside of eros. It further pries the woman apart from him.

Gradually what was a matter of taking pleasure from flesh is spun into something else entirely; again involving flesh but now literally draining from his.

It ends with a stunning sequence across countryside roads; a lot of the imagery recalls L'Herbier - who also inspired Resnais - but here more pertinently. The soul has been so withered away from inside, so consumed from the fever of passion, that mere sunlight sends it reeling. Of course we can explain away by falling back to our knowledge of vampire lore, but we'd be missing on the finer abstractions; how, for example, the femme fatale is magically cast into the circumstances that, as we know from our knowledge of this type of film, would precipitate her demise. Nothing else would do after all.

If we follow the set of reactions from what at first sight appears like an accident, it can be plainly seen how it all flows from her desire to control the narrative.

It's marvelous stuff just the same, the colors, the desolate aura. I just want to urge you to see as more than just an 'artsy vampire flick'. Save that for Jean Rollin.

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