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(aka "Les lèvres rouges" or "Le Rouge aux lèvres" or "Children of the Night")

 

directed by Harry Kumel
Belgium 1971

 

International screen icon Delphine Seyrig stars as Elizabeth Bathory, an ageless Countess with a beautiful young 'companion' (Goth goddess Andrea Rau) and a legendary legacy of perversion. But when the two women seduce a troubled newlywed couple (Quebecoise beauty Danielle Ouimet and John Karlen), they unleash a frenzy of sudden violence and depraved desire that shocked both art house audiences and grindhouse crowds worldwide. Co-written and directed by Harry Kumel, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS remains one of the most exquisitely mesmerizing adult horror films ever made.

***

In The Shining (1980) Stanley Kubrick makes a small visual homage to Last Year at Marienbad, (1961) when he references the garden maze that Jack is about to go into in search of his son. It's fitting that Kubrick should be thinking of Last Year at Marienbad, since that classic film by Alain Resnais deals with ghostly memories trapped in a large, luxury hotel. Belgian director Harry Kumel actually does Kubrick's homage one better in his acclaimed art-house, lesbian-vampire film Daughters of Darkness (1971) - he actually got Marienbad's lead, Delphine Seyrig, to once again play a major role that competes for attention with an enigmatic and cavernous hotel. It's a heck of a battle because Seyrig puts on a mesmerizing show that has often been compared to an over-the-top Marlene Dietrich impersonation, and the imposing hotel locations include the Grand Hotel des Thermes in Ostend and the Hotel Astoria in Brussels.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 22 October 1971 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Optimum - Region 2 - PAL vs.  Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 0  - NTSC

Blue Underground

Region 0 - NTSC

Blue Underground
Region 0 - NTSC
Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Blue Underground
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:39:45 1:39:42 1:39:57 1:35:51 (4% PAL speedup) 1:39:59.994
Video 1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.37 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.68 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.38 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 34,211,628,525 bytes

Feature Size: 26,445,981,696 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.09 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay

 

Bitrate:

Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition)

 

Bitrate:

Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition)

 

Bitrate:

Optimum

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
DTS-HD Master Audio English 816 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 816 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps /
16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 816 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 816 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps /
16-bit)
Subtitles None None None None English, French, Spanish English for French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment


Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• All Regions
• Color, Widescreen
• Commentary by actor John Karlen and journalist David Del Valle
• Widescreen letterbox format

 

DVD Release Date: August 25, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 13 listed, 33 in actuality

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with co-writer/director Harry Kumel
• Audio Commentary with star John Karlen and journalist David Del Valle
• Daughter of Darkness: interview with star Andrea Rau (16:9; 7:58)
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:09)
• 4x 30-second Radio Spots
• Poster and Still Gallery

DVD Release Date: 27 May 2003
Amaray

Chapters 25
 

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio Commentary with co-writer/director Harry Kumel
• Audio Commentary with star John Karlen and journalist David Del Valle
• Locations of Darkness: interviews with Harry Kumel and cowriter/producer Pierre Dreuet (16:9; 21:36)
• Playing the Victim: interview with star Danielle Ouimet (16:9; 15:28)
• Daughter of Darkness: interview with star Andrea Rau (16:9; 7:59)
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:09)
• 4x 30-second Radio Spots
• Poster and Still Gallery
• DISC 2:
• THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE (16:9; 1:40:54 - English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
• Theatrical Trailer: Double Billed with I DISMEMBER MAMA

 

DVD Release Date: 31 October 2006
Amaray

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66

Edition Details:

• None
 

DVD Release Date: August 30th, 2010
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Blue Underground

 

Disc Size: 34,211,628,525 bytes

Feature Size: 26,445,981,696 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.09 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with co-writer/director Harry Kumel
• Audio Commentary with star John Karlen and journalist David Del Valle
• Daughter of Darkness: interview with star Andrea Rau (16:9; 7:59 - 480i)

Locations of Darkness: Interviews with C-Writer/Director Harry Kummel and Producer Pierre Drouot (21:37 - 480i)

Playing the Victim: Interview with Danielle Ouimet (15:29 - 480i)
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:09 - 1080P)
• 4x 30-second Radio Spots
• The Blood Spattered Bride (1:40:56 - MPEG2 , 480i)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 25

 

 

Comments NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - February 2011: Comments coming soon! Blue Underground have done a great job again. The dual-layered transfer improves over all the SD editions and the color scheme seems accurate - as supported by the strong 2010 Optimum SD transfer. Better detail, more grain, less noise, some depth - all the appreciated 1080P attributes are here.

There are lossless mono tracks in either English or French that both sound clean and consistent. There are optional subtitles and we have been informed that it is Region FREE.

Supplements go the extra mile offering everything from the Blue Underground 2006 Special Edition 2-disc with the two commentaries (co-writer/director Harry Kumel and a second with John Karlen + journalist David Del Valle), the interviews with Andrea Rau, Danielle Ouimet, Kummel and producer Pierre Drouot plus on the lone Blu-ray disc we get the 1 hour 40-minute The Blood Spattered Bride in 480i. This is an easy recommendation for fans of this unique, and very adult, horror film.

***

ADDITION: Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - December 2010: Adding the, recently released, Optimum to this comparison seems kind of moot as Blue Underground will be releasing a Blu-ray in February 2011 HERE. Actually though, so far I like the single-layered Optimum image quality. Artifacts seem the most limited and colors are rich without boosting. It may also be the most detailed. Audio is standard (fine) - there are no subtitles nor extras. Let's see what the forthcoming Blu-ray is like - I've always had a soft spot for this film...

  - Gary Tooze

***

Anchor Bay released the first DVD of DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS in 1998 utilizing the Roan laserdisc master. An anamorphic widescreen version from Blue Underground followed in 2003 but was of poor quality. In 2006, Blue Underground reissued the film newly mastered in high definition in a 2-disc set paired with THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE (a direct port of the Anchor Bay edition). The 2006 version features the John Karlen audio commentary track from the LD and original DVD as well as the second Harry Kumel track added to the 2003 edition. Besides the new transfer, the 2006 edition adds an interview with Danielle Ouimet and a visit to the locations with the director and producer. This new version was reissued in 2008 as a single disc edition - with all of the extras minus THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE - HERE.

Eric Cotenas

***

The new Blue Underground DVD has some excellent Extras, but the image quality is still quite poor regardless of it being anamorphic. It seems to have a greenish tinge to it and it not quite as sharp as the Anchor Bay version which has a little too much red in the skin tones. The Blue Underground DVD is also darker than the Anchor Bay version.

Unless you are a huge fan of the film, you may wish to stick with your old Anchor Bay version which has a commentary (duplicated as one of two on the Blue Underground ).

- Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

(Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Blue Underground - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

1) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Subtitle Sample - Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Blue Underground (2003 Blue Underground Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Blue Underground (2006 2-disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More  Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: 2006 BU DVD + Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 0  - NTSC

Blue Underground

Region 0 - NTSC

Blue Underground
Region 0 - NTSC
Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Blue Underground
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 




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Gary Tooze

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