Just in time for Halloween -- in fact, on October 31st -- Blue Underground is releasing a DVD double feature that no self-respecting fan of the lesbian vampire genre should pass up. Both of these films have been on DVD before, but never conveniently together like this, and The Blood Spattered Bride has been out of print for awhile.

Harry Kumel's Daughters of Darkness is a skillful melding of arthouse and exploitation cinema. Stefan (John Karlen from Dark Shadows and Cagney and Lacey) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet), a young newlywed couple arrive at a magnificent seaside resort. As it is the off-season, the only other guests are the Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and her companion Ilona (Andrea Rau). Elizabeth has a dark hold on the young Ilona and refuses to let her leave. Stefan and Valerie's relationship has its own layer of dysfunction, and the shadow of Stefan's disapproving mother hangs like a pall over their union. Countess Bathory is fascinated by the young couple and she is intent on possessing them just as she possesses Ilona. The vampirism is subtle here; there are no fangs, and no one turns into a bat. The character of the Countess is based on the real life Elizabeth Bathory who is said to have murdered several young women and bathed in their blood in order to maintain her own youth.

Oddly the box cover doesn't even play up the fact that The Blood Spattered Bride is part of the package. While not quite the masterpiece that its co-feature is, Bride, is also a respectable entry in the lesbian vampire sweepstakes. This Spanish production is one of countless films based on the novella Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (as was Crypt of the Vampire), though this is a particularly loose adaptation. The Blood Spattered Bride is the tale of a young couple at odds with one another's sexuality. Susan (Maribel Martin from 1973'sA Bell From Hell) befriends and is seduced by a man-hating woman named Mircalla. Goriness and cool Euro-horror atmosphere ensue.

The second disk carries as its sole bonus feature the U.S. trailer for the double feature of The Blood Spattered Bride and I Dismember Mama. The Daughters of Darkness disk, however, has a whole lot of coolness going on:
  • Audio Commentary #1 with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel
  • Audio Commentary #2 with Star John Karlen and Journalist David Del Valle
  • Locations of Darkness – Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Harry Kümel and Co-Writer/Co-Producer Pierre Drouot
  • Playing the Victim - Interview with Star Danielle Ouimet
  • Daughter of Darkness - Interview with Star Andrea Rau
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio Spots
  • Poster & Still Gallery