HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
   
 
  Countess Dracula Age Before Beauty
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, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
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 7011 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
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: