|Intl. Notebook||Nov 24 2010|
Polish-born actress Ingrid Pitt as a child survived a Nazi concentration camp to star as an adult in a score of films, including several horror movies produced during the early 1970s by Hammer Studios. Some of those titles are The House that Dripped Blood, The Wicker Man, Countess Dracula and The Vampire Lovers, and her portrayals made her a favorite among fans of macabre cinema. Pitt died this morning in a London hospital aged 73.
|Vintage Pulp||Oct 11 2009|
You’d think a film entitled Countess Dracula is a vampire movie, but it isn’t—at least not in the traditional sense. Rather it’s about real-life figure Erzebet Bathory, a noblewoman who killed three-hundred virgins in medieval Hungary and bathed in their blood to reverse the effects of aging. The Countess is portrayed by Ingrid Pitt, who does what any post-menopausal woman would do when made young again—gets laid. Actually, since this is the Middle Ages she has to get wooed first, which involves constantly performing the ritual in order to play the role of an available young woman. But these rituals from dusty old books always have side effects. Some are relatively benign—dizziness, headaches, erections lasting more than four hours—while others are more serious. In this case the problem is each period of youthfulness granted is shorter and the Countess’s aged visage, when it returns, is ever more witchlike and hideous. Nevertheless, the supply of nubile village virgins lasts long enough for the Countess to marry the man of her dreams. But then comes the wedding night, when the new husband is bitterly disappointed, and completely taken aback by his bride’s total change in attitude and appearance—and this is all before the spell even wears off. Badabing. Seriously, though, this is Hammer Studios horror and we recommend the film for that reason alone. It isn’t Hammer’s best, but it’s still got that ineffable British style. Countess Dracula premiered in the U.S. today in 1971.