Okay, let's be clear about this from the start. This is not really a Dracula movie, we don't get any fangs or big bats or people who sleep in coffins. This is, however, an excellent Hammer flick loosely based on the legends woven around the life of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.
Countess Elisabeth Nadasdy (Ingrid Pitt) is much put out when she
hears the reading of her deceased husband's will. It orders his fortune
to be shared between his widow and his only daughter (played by Lesley-Anne Down). Rather than share the wealth the countess comes up with a
plan after finding that the blood of young girls can make her look
young and gorgeous again. With youth back on her side, she bags herself a handsome man (Sandor Eles) and arranges to
have her daughter waylaid en route and then proceeds to take her place.
But just how long can she keep finding the victims she needs to retain
Jeremy Paul wrote the screenplay, based on a story by a number of
people who took inspiration from the life of lady Bathory, and Peter Sasdy
directed this lusty, busty release from the studio that dripped blood
and it's a good job they do too.
Once fans get over the disappointment of this not being an actual
vampire movie there's much to enjoy here. It has plenty of nefarious scheming, all planned and carried out by a beautiful femme fatale. The look of the thing is up
to Hammer's usual standards, the cast are all very good (the central
role helped to make Pitt quite the horror icon while Nigel Green is
wonderful as a co-conspirator, Sandor Eles is very good as the unwitting object of Elisabeth's affection and the rest of the cast do just fine,
despite all being overshadowed by Miss Pitt's luminous beauty) and the
pacing is just right.
It's the perfect blend of blood and lust, with an essence of sleaze given an outer coating of velvet finesse, that made the studio such a
bankable name at its height and I recommend this movie to all of the