Countess Dracula: review
Countess Dracula is directed by Peter Sasdy and written by Jeremy Paul. It stars Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green, Sandor Eles, Maurice Denham, Patience Collier and Lesley-Anne Down. Out of Hammer Film Productions, music is by Harry Robertson and Eastmancolor cinematography by Kenneth Talbot.
Why didn’t they just call it Countess Bathory? Or just Elizabeth Bathory? Film has nothing to do with Dracula or Vampires, and is basically an interpretation of Madame Bathory, who back in olde Hungary killed any number of girls for kicks and a vain belief that bathing in virginal blood would keep her young. It’s this last aspect that Hammer focus on, unfurling a story where the Countess strikes on the secret of eternal youth, and who then promptly has her daughter kidnapped and proceeds to impersonate her. Thus with that she gets to romance a young man, but of course as the bodies start to pile up, and the Countess’ suitor and confidant's begin to get their noses pushed out of joint, things quickly go downhill fast.
As a technical production it’s good Hammer fare. Costuming, colour photography, set design and acting performances are perfectly pleasing. Unfortunately it’s all very predictable, and worse still considering the plot points of interest, it’s pretty bloodless, playing out as some sort of period based drama with the odd bit of dastard behaviour thrown in for good measure. Nothing really happens to perk up the story, and sadly the finale is something of a damp squib. The red blooded amongst us can’t help but enjoy the twin lovelies of Pitt and Down, and the wonderful Nigel Green can’t believe his luck as he gets to canoodle with our Ingrid! But all told it’s not very sexy, not very horror and only works as a good period drama if you set expectation at that level. 6/10