Monster #10 - Countess Dracula


United Kingdom, 1971

A Hammer Film Production
93 mins, Eastmancolor, 1.66:1 aspect ratio
Shot on 35mm film

Director - Peter Sasdy
Screenplay - Jeremy Paul, t
Cinematographer - Kenneth Talbot
Production Design - Philip Harrison, Tim Hutchinson
Make-Up - Tom Smith
Editor - Henry Richardson
Music - Harry Robinson

Ingrid Pitt (Countess Elisabeth Nadasdy; voice dubbed by Olive Gregg, uncredited), Nigel Green (Captain Dobi), Lesley-Anne Down (Countess Ilona Nadasdy),
Sandor Elès (Lt. Imre Toth), Maurice Denham (Grand Master Fabio)


Countess Dracula essentially takes its cue and story from the gory legends surrounding early 17th Century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory (who seemed to enjoy bathing in the blood of virgins) - but Monsters of the Movies wasn't the kind of publication to divulge this type of background information to its readers, instead simply focussing on a synopsis of the film's events and the characterization of the horrors presented by it - in this case, Countess Dracula.

I do remember being slightly perplexed, since Gifford's lines really gave no hint at all of any kind of vampirism - so who or what exactly were we looking at here?

Well, the matter of the fact is that, quite simply, Countess Bathory never was "Countess Dracula". Hammer was simply attempting to dip back into some of its previous successes with films featuring Dracula's name, together with another try at some exploitation and nudity (featuring actress Ingrid Pitt's feminine endowments but not her voice, as her lines were dubbed by an uncredited voice actress).


(Carousel Books / Transworld Publishing)

Even in the movie the name Countess Dracula isn't mentioned until the very last scene, when villagers curse the Countess as she is awaiting the executioner.

  It seems rather baffling that Gifford chose to include Countess Dracula in a little book clearly aimed at a pre- to early teenage audience - somewhat illustrated by the fact that the movie is, to this day, rated 18.

Then again, it was quite clear that no average reader of Monsters of the Movies would get to watch the movie anyway, so Gifford could be content to have a character with a semi-iconic name and simply run down the basics of the plot. The still chosen to illustrate this entry is certainly beyond suspicion (and for some reason always evoked images for me of Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors in London, with dimly lit waxworks of the beheaded Marie Antoinette).

Other than that, it seems that Countess Dracula is one of Hammer's most inconsistent productions when it comes to critical reception, both contemporary and current. Some feel it is underrated and above average, whereas others deplore the lack of plot interest and acting quality. Personally, I would have to side with the latter group.

The movie was released in 2014 on Blu-ray, presenting very good image quality that highlights the merits of the make-up as the Countess ages. The audio quality is on the same level, and the region B release features a number of extras, although half of those don't actually have much - if indeed anything - to do with Countess Dracula.

Monster Factor:

Overall Movie Rating:


Hardly any plot interest, hardly any atmosphere - and hardly a horror movie altogether. Possibly the dullest Hammer movie ever made.


Denis Gifford on Countess Dracula
in A Pictorial History of Horror Movies (1973)

"Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula found an ideal cure for old age: virgin's blood (...) a catch-penny [revival of the Dracula theme]."


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The illustrations presented here are copyright material.
Their reproduction in this non-commercial review and research context is considered to be fair use
as set out by the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. par. 107
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for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

All images from Monsters of the Movies (Carousel/Transworld) were scanned from my personal copy purchased in 1977
All images of Blu-ray or DVD covers were scanned from my personal copies

Page created 21 September 2023
Last updated 20 October 2023

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