The plot of the film is an elaborately constructed fever dream, and much more rewarding when it unfolds for the viewer unexpectedly. The film begins by introducing the viewer to Stefan and Valerie, a young couple who were recently married after not knowing each other for very long. The two are traveling from Switzerland to England so Valerie can meet Stefan’s “mother,” but end up staying in Ostend before they leave. In Ostend, they stay at a decadent, large, and empty hotel, and before long a mysterious woman by the name of Elizabeth Bathory and her assistant Ilona end up in the same hotel. As soon as the mysterious women arrive at the hotel, the tension that has thus far been building between Stefan and Valerie almost explodes; Valerie is insistent upon Stefan’s mother knowing about his marriage, but Stefan seems to be terrified by his mother and her “aristocratic” values. The Countess also seems to have an intense interest in the young couple, as as the days and nights unfold her motives appear more and more specific. There are countless subtleties to the film that not only heighten the atmosphere, but also extend the psycho-sexual story of Stefan and Valerie’s relationship into something truly worthwhile.
Harry Kümel (born 27 January 1940 in Antwerp, Belgium) is a Belgian film director. His 1971 vampire feature Daughters of Darkness (Les lèvres rouges), starring Delphine Seyrig became a cult hit in Europe and the United States. He also directed the film version of Malpertuis, featuring Orson Welles and adapted from the novel by Jean Ray.
He also directed Monsieur Hawarden about the cross-dressing Meriora Gillibrand whose two male lovers fought a duel in Vienna. She then killed the survivor and fled to Belgium dressed as a man. She took the name Hawarden from a family related to hers in Lancashire. The film is a fictionalised account; her grave can still be seen in the German-speaking part of Belgium. He made a cameo appearance in Nicholas Royle’s novel Antwerp. —Wikipedia
An exquisite, hallucinatory film that's utterly perfect. Not a lot happens but it has such a unique beauty and atmosphere that it doesn't particularly matter. Glamorous lesbian aristocrats stomping around beautiful hotel rooms breathlessly recounting tales of blood drinking and nipple torture, what more could you want?
Classic sapphic vampire film bringing the Elizabeth Bathory character into modern dress (71). Delphine Seyrig is perfect here as Bathory exuding pure sexuality and unrealized dread. Super stylish and uber-erotic like a cross between hammer and soft core porn. Decadent, homo-erotic and mesmerizing. One cannot just look away especially every second Seyrig is on screen (that silver dress just to kill for).