This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Countess Dracula


17th Century Hungary. Countess Elisabeth discovers that if she bathes in the blood of virgin women then she can temporarily restore her youthful good looks. Posing as her daughter she uses this new found ability to go about lusting after a young soldier, but as the romance blossoms the death rate of young women in the area increases, even to the point where the Countess' maids start to become suspicious.

Countess Dracula is a 1971 Hammer production. It stars Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green and Sandor Eles. It was directed by Peter Sasdy.

This film is based on the legends of “The Blood Countess” Elisabeth Bathory. Much in the same sense of how Dracula is based on the legends of Vlad the Impaler. Countess Elisabeth is based on Elisabeth Bathory who is said to have tortured and killed hundreds of women, but although she was never convicted of the crimes she was later imprisoned in bricked up rooms where she would die 4 years later. The character of Elisabeth Bathory is also used in the novel Dracula: The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker, which is the official sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula. That adaptation of her portrays her as being a lesbian vampire which isn't in this film but both do have the bathing in women's blood, as in one scene from the book she has a woman hung over a bath and cut open so her blood pours into the bath.

Ingrid Pitt, one of the most iconic stars of Hammer and she was only ever in TWO Hammer films! Nice bit of trivia for you there.

Right from the start we're getting the general gist that Countess Elisabeth is a bitch and no one likes her. At one point she hits a maid and causes her to slip and cut herself on the knife she was holding. As she cuts her face blood spurts out onto the Countess' face so she tells her to leave. But when she rubs the blood from her face, she notices that the area the blood touched has rejuvenated and is now young looking. Thrilled by this discovery that the maid's blood can make her young again she rushes to the maid's room. The next day the maid is nowhere to be seen and the Countess is fully rejuvenated. I suspect foul play!

Oh you sly bitch! In order to enjoy this new found youth she has her daughter's arrival delayed by arranging to have her kidnapped, so she can pose as her daughter and lust after a young Lieutenant. All the while, her lover Captain Dobi who knows her terrible secret must keep schtum and just sit and watch.

Oh no! It wasn't permanent! Whatever will she do now?! She'll kill again of course, duh.

That's brilliant and unintentionally hilarious! The Countess is just sat there dabbing blood on to her face with a GIANT sponge.

Naked Ingrid Pitt WOOOOOOOO, but she's covered in blood ewwwww.

Ah! They've found some of The Countess' victims. THREE dead bodies hidden behind a mere few barrels and nobody noticed before now? Didn't anyone notice the smell? I recommend some Olbas, it gives you the power to breathe naturally.

AH! She turned old during the wedding ceremony! She has a knack for picking the worst moments to turn old, earlier she turned old just as she was about to get it on with the Lieutenant, but then caught a glimpse of her reflection and ran away. This time though she was kind of fucked as she did it in front of everyone, and decided to attack her daughter but the young Lieutenant got in the way and got killed instead. Next thing, The Countess is in prison awaiting trial or execution (one of the two) all the while people outside are chanting “Devil” and “Devil woman” until one woman says “Countess Dracula”. Ah, so that's why they called it that.

All in all, it's not bad. First time I watched this a few years ago I really enjoying it, but this time round not so much. I suppose it's worth giving a look, especially if you're a Hammer fan and even more so if you're an Ingrid Pitt fan for obvious reasons. Because she was only in TWO Hammers! Dirty minded people. Nigel Green is good as the jealous Captain Dobi, as funny as his name is he's a fiendish man who keeps trying to drive the Countess and the lieutenant apart. One method, was to get him completely smashed and in bed with a whore so he could get the Countess and show her. There isn't particularly a lot of horror, there's a bit of blood but nothing major and as for nudity, there's the odd boob flying about the place, and that's pretty much Countess Dracula in a nutshell. I'm not really selling it am I, well what can I say, it's ok and that's about it. The title choice wasn't good either, obviously they were trying to gain interest by chucking Dracula into the title which obviously is a good selling point when it comes to Hammer but there is no relation between this and Dracula, she's not a vampire, she doesn't drink blood, it's a completely separate story. Even the porn versions of Countess Dracula have her as a vampire! They should have named this after one of Elisabeth Bathory's nicknames like “The Blood Queen” or “The Blood Countess”. I think that would have sold it and without having to mislead audiences by piggy backing on the Dracula name. All in all, yeah sure go watch it, it's not bad but don't be expecting anything spectacular.

Countess Dracula 2/5

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