Reviews May Contain Minor Spoilers

If you're reading a review you should expect to hear some spoilers. I try to keep them to a minimum though.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Countess Dracula

After a brief step away from the Hammer films, it is time for another.

Countess Dracula (1971) is a film based on Elizabeth Bathory, the blood countess.

A funeral is under way when a rider with a fuzzy hat rides up. He catches the eye of an old woman, the Countess, who smiles at him. Later, the nobles assemble for the reading of the late count's will. Though many get what they want, the Countess and the old captain are snubbed. As she sulks in her room, the Countess chastises her servant for making her bath too hot. She gets incredibly violent and ends up cutting the girl, getting blood on her face. She soon discovers that the blood has made her youthful again.

This film is a blatant cash in on the Dracula name. The entire film revolves around the love triangle between the Countess, her young lover and the old captain. There's also a ton of ridiculous hats.

Our Villain
The Countess is a woman who longs to be desired. She is a really despicable character: too self absorbed in herself to be interesting. Unfortunately, she's the main focus of the film with some brief shifts to her daughter trying to escape captivity. There are some times where the film tries to get us to empathize with her; it doesn't work. She's played by Ingrid Pitt, who was Carmilla in The Vampire Lovers; though she doesn't have a lot to work with, she does her best.

Insipid Observers
Captain Dobi is the longtime lover of the Countess who expects his day in her favor now that the count is gone. He's also a slave to his libido. He ends up helping the queen in her plot and showing that he's not above shaming her and her young love before the film ends. Another winner to add to the lovely cast.

Lt. Imre Toth is the Countess' young lover. His mustache is practically its own character. He's also supposed to be this amazing stud; must've been a seventies thing. He is a dupe the whole movie who never catches on until it's too late.

Elderly Foe
Grand Master Fabio is the castle vizier and the film's comic relief. He is also the only interesting character. He is really the only one onto the mystery of the Countess. He deserves better. At least he gets a cool hat too.

Medieval Atmosphere
The castle set is grand and the village is picturesque. The film even has some good makeup for the Countess' age transitions. Sadly, there isn't any emotion in the film: no horror, no mystery, no suspense.

In the End
The bodies of the victims are discovered in the basement (brilliant hiding palce!). All the women are removed from the castle and none are allowed back in, so the queen gets desperate, but lazy?

This film is incredibly boring. It has precisely two things that it attempts to interest you in: boobs and stupid hats. I suppose you could argue for the love triangle or the discovery of the Countess, but it's all so contrived. Pretty much any twist in this movie is due to plot convenience: convenient blood splatter, Countess has problem with the third body, book on blood sacrifice surfaces, bodies found in a pile in the basement, among others. We don't even get the vampiric action promised in the film's title. The film's acting and set design can't save a nonexistent plot with mediocre, unsympathetic characters. Skip it.

Next time: I'm getting tired of disappointing Hammer films, so I'm going to switch it up with a newer horror franchise!

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