HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Countess Dracula Age Before BeautyBuy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: Peter Sasdy
Stars: Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green, Sandor Elès, Maurice Denham, Lesley-Anne Down, Patience Collier, Peter Jeffrey, Leon Lissek, Jessie Evans, Andrea Lawrence, Susan Brodrick, Ian Trigger, Nike Arrighi, Peter May, John Moore, John Haythorne, Marianne Stone
Genre: Horror, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Returning from the funeral of her husband, the elderly Countess Elisabeth Nadasdy (Ingrid Pitt) is only interested in what's in his will and not with the peasants she rules over, as can be attested when one of those peasants is crushed under the wheels of her carriage after begging for work from her. When the will is read, she is dismayed to learn that she must share the inheritance with her daughter Ilona (Lesley-Anne Down), and she retreats to her chambers in a foul mood. There, her young maidservant prepares her bath, but the Countess plunges the girl's hand into the water, scalding it to test how hot it is. Then she cuts the girl's cheek when she drops a peach she wanted to eat, getting some of the blood on her own face - with surprising results...

Written by Jeremy Paul from an idea by producer Alexander Paal and director Peter Sasdy, Countess Dracula is no ordinary vampire tale, and Elisabeth is not your common or garden vampire. There's no sinking of fangs into necks, turning into bats or allergy to sunlight and none of the lesbianism (see Pitt's starring role in The Vampire Lovers for that) that often informs tales of female bloodsuckers as the Countess is heterosexual through and through. The story is based on the legend of Erzsebet Bathory, the Hungarian noblewoman who supposedly killed off peasant girls and bathed in their blood to stay young and beautiful.

I should think that this method of self-preservation would probably not work, but for some reason, a reason which is never explained in the film, it works like a dream for Elisabeth and like a nightmare for her victims. After having the maidservant murdered and her body drained, she takes a dip in the red stuff and emerges as lovely as she was in her youth. Obviously this will raise uncomfortable questions, but she gets around it by claiming to be her daughter, which she manages by ensuring her actual daughter is kidnapped and held captive by a mute. It's a thankless role for Down as all she pretty much gets to do is sit in a run down cottage and fret, occasionally making a futile break for it.

Pitt, meanwhile, in spite of being dubbed seizes all her chances with both hands and the film is all the better for it. Elisabeth already has a suitor around her own age in the form of Captain Dobi (Nigel Green), but it is now interested in someone younger now she can change her appearance, so sets her sights on Lieutenant Toth (Sandor Elès with a conspicuously stuck on moustache), who has just inherited the stables. All goes well and there is a mutual attraction, but wouldn't you know it? The effects of the blood only last so long, and she gets old fast without regular doses, so she begins to rely on Dobi to assist her in her wicked rejuvenation.

The trouble with Countess Dracula isn't that it fails to live up to other vampire tales, it's that the original legend has so little to it. She kills women, she bathes in their blood, she gets caught and horribly punished... er, that's it. So there is a lot in the film which feels like padding, especially the romantic elements, with the result that the whole thing feels flimsy. Fortunately, Pitt and Green make solid partners in crime, the historical ambience is nicely controlled, and revelations such as the blood only working if it's virgins' blood and the Countess growing older every time she reverts to her previous appearance add a touch of the macabre. The film isn't vintage Hammer, but is a welcome variation on their usual fare, despite having a largely bloodless ending which you might not have expected. Music by Harry Robertson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6753 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: