Thursday, 1 October 2015

Countess Dracula (1971)

"Countess Dracula! Countess Dracula!"

Meh. I like me a good Hammer, but this is the most forgettable sort of early '70s stuff. Doing a film based on the notorious Elizabeth Bathory is not a bad idea in theory but the plot is perfunctory, the script tired and Ingrid Pitt, wonderful though she is, doesn't have the charisma to carry a film otherwise full of nonentities, excepting the ever-fab Peter Jeffrey in a minor role and some delightful scenery chewing from Maurice Denham. Overall, it's a Hammer worth skipping. Even the title is crowbarred in.

Any interesting points? Well, the costumes look good, and no doubt are accurate for early 17th century Hungary. The history is a bit off: Elizabeth Bathory was active as a serial killer between 1590 and 1610 (a much longer period!!!) but the film, with Turks encroaching on Vienna, seems to be set in the 1680s. And, of course, whereas the real Bathory may not have committed the murders to stay young at all, in the film she is actually rejuvenated. But beyond that and an incongruous bit of bawdiness with boobies in the tavern (the real world has pubs; cinematic Central Europe has "taverns") there's not much to say about it.


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