Welcome to this year’s Halloween Horror Fest! All through the month of October, I’ll be watching horror movies, monster flicks and general B-movie nonsense, and then sharing a short revue on this here blog. Hope you enjoy!
First off this year it’s…
Countess Dracula (1971)
Loosely based on the true story of Countess Bathory, who bathed in the blood of virgins, this Hammer tale is suitably lurid and macabre. It deals in all the classic (or stereotypical, if you prefer) Hammer traits, with gore and a dash of nudity – not to mention horse drawn carriages in the woods, castles and intrigue.
Here the widowed Countess is played by the legendary Ingrid Pitt, who makes a startling transformation from ancient crone to voluptuous young beauty when she discovers the restorative powers of virgin’s blood. With this knowledge, the Countess embarks on a mission to ensnare her younger lover and keep the supply of comely wenches flowing.
There’s also plenty of plotting within the castle walls, leading to some duplicitous goings on and dastardly actions. Chief amongst these scoundrels is Nigel Green as Dobi, keen to take the place of the Countess’s suitor (Sandor Eles).
Countess Dracula is one of the great Hammer films I remember seeing years ago, inded it was one of the first I ever bought – on VHS – for my collection! It’s an entertaining film, aided by the deceitful twists and turns of the characters, that stops the film from becoming too run of the mill.
Unlike the real Countess Bathory story, and with this being Hammer, there is of course a supernatural element to the proceedings. The Countess is magically rejuvenated; Ingrid Pitt at first made up to look old becomes miraculously young and seductive. But this isn’t a historical docu-drama, it’s Hammer horror – and it’s all about entertainment.
Great fun and a worthy start to this years Halloween Horror Fest!