I hear this is a fairly popular Hammer film. I think I understand why. Technically this is very well made, and props to the crew you did a good job. Once again Hammer pull it out of their ass in terms of art department.
This film however is most famous for the decision, purportedly made by director Peter Sasdy, to dub Ingrid Pitt's lines.
It didn't help.
Whatever it was meant to do, it didn't help.
This Hammer tale is based on the legend of "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Báthory so here we have Countess Elisabeth Nádasdy who discovers if she bathes in the blood of young women, she can restore her youth.
All pretty sexy so far.
Kind of gross. Kind of sexy.
On first viewing, I can see why one may think I'll carry on with this farce, (and as a plus, no extended intro like Vampire Circus.)
Ingrid Pitt does her sexiest, and the voice actress should also be lauded for her efforts. That said, it doesn't quite distract you from the other characters. Their ridiculous behaviour, and to be honest, the repulsive actions and motivations of the primary character - who in this film, is Elizabeth, even though she's murdering all of the virgins.
Don't try and argue that Imre Toth (played valiantly by Sandor Elès) was in any way our hero! I will not stand for it. He was a fool.
If anything, the closest thing we have to a protagonist in this film is Grand Master Fabio (Maurice Denham) who peaks early on in the tale.
Nigel Greene has a nice menacing turn here as Captain Dobi, and his scene with Ziza is the most wickedly delightful piece in the film. If this is a major highlight then "Houston we have a problem." This is, in my mind, a mean spirited scene.
Then I come back to the kind of gross, kind of sexy comment. Because it gets more gross. Think about it. She's really old. She's transforming into someone really young for a short period of time, to seduce someone much, much younger than her, and then transforming back into someone really old and influencing that person who is much, much younger than her.
It stops being sexy.
I understand that this marks a change from the usual Hammer selection. They're messing around with topics and ideas they had left untouched until this point and it is fun at times. I've watched it more times than I'd care to admit. It's short, it's simple, and there is a very attractive woman bathing in bright red liquid.
But I just don't like it.