The Ninjabot

[Synapse Release] Countess Dracula Forgets To Deliver

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm by Jess Hicks

Earlier this month the good folks at Synapse released the lesser known Hammer film, Countess Dracula. The story, written by Jeremy Paul and directed by Peter Sasdy (Taste the Blood of Dracula, Hands of the Ripper), follows the Countess Elisabeth Nodosheen (Ingrid Pitt) on her journey to become young and beautiful again to attain her late husband’s estate. The Countess realizes the blood of young virgins has the power to return her to her original youth. But not all can go right in this plan with a jealous lover and a young daughter threatening her exposure.

Countess Dracula is a Hammer retelling of the true story of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory who murdered hundreds of women in attempt to gain the cure for mortality. But, as I said this is Hammer so there is considerably less history and considerably more…perversions.

Countess blood

I’m generally a big Hammer fan with their elaborate sets, costumes and generally campy presentations. Unfortunately, Countess Dracula just misses the bill with me. The idea to put “Dracula” in the title was a clear money grabber for the Hammer Company. By putting their biggest money maker in the title was a major guarantee in drawing people to see it. Instead of Christopher Lee the audience gets Ingrid Pitt, who plays a fantastic villain, as a femme fatale instead of a vampire. Seemingly this could have been a really interesting take on Bathory but it just falls flat.

The entire movie just seems to drag on and on not really delivering in what we come to expect from Hammer, aside from gorgeous women (i.e. Ingrid Pitt). But as someone who doesn’t generally look for that kind of thing as my main source of entertainment I became very bored very fast. Our supporting characters are barely there and when they are they don’t prove to be much more than talking scenery. The blending of a historical character and the idea of a “vampire” just doesn’t seem to sit well here.

However, Synapse has done a wonderful job of restoring this film for their Blu-ray release. The picture and audio quality are fantastic as usual. Unfortunately the film itself is a snoozefest. So if you are a die-hard Hammer fan it’s definitely worth the buy if only to have a complete collection.

Countess Dracula: C-

You can follow Jess on Twitter @DangerJess_

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