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Countess Dracula (1971)

To start, thanks for the recommendations from Mrs. This One from the Mrs. and Mrs. blog (check out the awesome blog via the link on the BlogRoll).  I’m running out of pre-written reviews and needed something so I’ll definitely be checking out the recommends over the weekend.  I’m gonna try my hardest to keep the blog posts daily, since I just returned to school it might be a bit difficult but I’m going to be supplementing any lack of movie reviews with posts from the fantastic group who employs me at CC2K (check them out as well).  So send me recommendations, anything you watch I’ll watch!  On to today’s film:

Countess Dracula was one of three movies I decided to watch with a friend.  We just randomly picked movies on Netflix Watch Instantly, not expecting to find anything good, and nothing good we found.  The first movie was Countess Dracula, one of the cult classics from the Hammer Film Studios.  If you don’t know of the work of the Hammer Studios they did all the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing horror films.  I’d heard of their vampire movies but hadn’t seen much else.  My friend and I settled back to take in the world of Hammer, expecting gore,  a weak plot, and a lot of gratuitous nudity…Countess Dracula delivered.

The film follows Countess Elizabeth (Ingrid Pitt) who discovers that her husband’s estate isn’t completely her’s but has been divided, with part going to the young Lt. Imre Toth (Sandor Eles).  By accident the Countess discovers that the blood of young, virginal women makes her young.  With that she starts killing women to remain young, meanwhile seducing Imre to gain the rest of the fortune.

Most Hammer films are laughable but this one is just ridiculous.  The makeup job alone on Ingrid Pitt is hilarious, especially considering the camera loves to close-up on her face once she’s old, showing the caked on makeup and where it starts and ends.  When she is young and beautiful you can tell she’s not nearly as young as she claims.  She tells Imre that she is the Countess Ilona, who is Elizabeth’s daughter whose about 20 years old.  Pitt is pretty and was only 34 when this came out but she does not look twenty.  Again, the HD of current televisions ruins things when the camera focuses on her beautiful face that shows her highly apparent crow’s feet and less than perfect teeth.  Compared to the actress playing the real Ilona, Pitt looks haggard (no offense).

I know this is a staple of the Hammer genre, but for the most part Pitt just spends a great deal of time naked and hitting on all the men.  Her brother-in-law Captain Dobi (Nigel Green) is in love with her, and likes her “just the way you are” (cue the Bruno Mars) yet kills for her with no reasoning or logic.  Imre is equally bland with Sandor Eles jumping on the first woman who seems to give him attention.  The film relies on the “two days and we’re ready to be married logic.”

The movie ultimately isn’t scary or titillating as in other Hammer films.  The only Dracula reference is in terms of Elizabeth being based on Elisabeth Bathory, there’s no fangs or anything vampiric about the character.  A weaker effort from the studio, a great movie to make fun of with friends!

Grade: D+

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Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

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