Countess Dracula is "inspired" by the real serial killer Countess Erzsébeth Bathory, who brutally murdered countless young girls in Hungary during the late 16th and early 17th century. It was said that she bathed in their blood to keep herself looking youthful and vivacious. Bathory, along with Vlad "the Impaler" also provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker's classic novel "Dracula."
Countess Dracula has all the magnificent sets, beautiful cinematography and impeccable acting we've come to expect from Hammer Studios. It's a visual delight. The problem with this film is that it is breathtakingly slow. The pacing is very British and Countess Dracula takes its time telling the story. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but most modern American audiences will find it too slow to watch. Include me in that number! I was surprised this film was listed at a run time of 93 minutes. It seemed MUCH longer.
Now, a word about the actors. Ingrid Pitt [The Wicker Man, The Vampire Lovers] is great as the old version of Countess Elisabeth. She's conniving, desperate and has a menacing look that would scare anyone. Nigel Green [The Masque of the Red Death] is her "old" love interest Captain Dobi. He bears a striking resemblance to Christopher Lee and gives an adequate performance. However, it feels like he has little material to work with and it makes me wonder what he could do with a bit more jucier role. Sandor Eles is her "new" love interest and he fills the role rather well, adding a bit of energy to the story.
All in all, Countess Dracula is good, it's just not great. Hammer Studio produced better films than this but even at their worst they still shine.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.
To see the trailer click HERE.