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Film / Countess Dracula

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Countess Dracula is a 1971 Hammer Horror film. It is a fictionalised account of the legend surrounding Elizabeth Báthory - who was convicted for the imprisonment and murder of hundreds of young women. History remembers her as 'The Blood Countess' and she's thought to have inspired part of the Dracula story.

In medieval Europe, the middle aged Countess Elisabeth (Ingrid Pitt) has just buried her husband and, in a fit of rage one day, strikes one of her ladies-in-waiting and draws blood. She notices that when she wipes the blood off, her skin looks younger. She then bathes in the girl's blood and is transformed into a youthful woman. She passes herself off as her own daughter Ilona returning from years abroad and begins a romance with Lt Toth (Sandor Elès), much to the jealousy of her former lover Captain Dobi (Nigel Green). Unfortunately for Elisabeth, the effects of the blood are only temporary and she must kill again if she is to regain her youth.

Provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The countess herself is one for Toth (her older self anyway) while Ilona has one in the man keeping her captive.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: When her Abhorrent Admirer jailer attempts to force himself on her, Ilona uses the opportunity to steal the key off his belt and attempt to escape.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: Tavern patrons go silent as military officers Captain Dobi and Lieutenant Toth enter and take a table. Justified possibly due to them being soldiers.
  • Belly Dancer: A belly dancer from the circus performs in the tavern in an act of pure Fanservice.
  • The Bet: As part of his plan to smuggle Ziza into the castle so Elisabeth can kill her, Dobi bets Toth that he cannot get the girl into the castle unobserved.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: A village whore Dobi and Toth bring back to the castle.
  • Bitch Alert: Our first impression of Elisabeth is her ignoring a peasant's cries for help.
  • Blood Bath: As should be expected in a horror story featuring Bathory as a character, her legend being the popular Trope Maker and all. Bathory draws blood from younger women and bathes in it to rejuvenate her body into that of a younger woman.
  • Blood Countess: Obviously, due to the story being a retelling of the legend of Elizabeth Báthory.
  • Brainless Beauty: Toth is a borderline example.
  • Catapult Nightmare: After dreaming that she becomes old again, Elisabeth sits bolt upright in bed. She's relieved to discover that she is still youthful, only for the relief to turn to despair when she ages a few minutes later.
  • Combat Haircomb: Elisabeth murders the Hot Gypsy Woman by stabbing her through her jugular with a jeweled hairpin.
  • Costume Porn: As soon as Elisabeth becomes younger, she certainly shows off her elaborate wardrobe. Even her servants are dressed quite nicely. Toth is no slouch in the costume department either.
  • Damsel in Distress: Ilona, held captive in the forest so Elisabeth can impersonate her.
  • Defiant Captive: For all that she is a Damsel in Distress, Ilona makes multiple attempts to escape from her captor. But, being a sheltered noblewoman, she is not very good at escaping and keeps getting caught.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Dobi lures the whore Ziza to the castle so Elisabeth can murder her and bathe in her blood. However, because Ziza is not a virgin, her blood does not restore Elisabeth's youth and beauty.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The more Elisabeth kills, the uglier she gets once the youth effect vanishes.
  • Fan Disservice: Ingrid Pitt naked in the middle of a sponge bath? Try in the middle of a blood sponge bath.
  • Food Slap: Ilona throws a bowl of rice in the face in her captor when she attempts to escape.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Happens to Master Fabio. He discovers what Elisabeth and Dobi are up to and offers them advice. However, he is about to tell Toth on them but is killed by Dobi before he can.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: As soon as Julie discovers Ilona locked in the castle, she helps her escape.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: One of them becomes Elisabeth's second victim.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Elisabeth merely wants to be young and pretty again.
  • The Igor: Julie, who goes along with Elisabeth's plan.
  • Joggers Find Death: The naked, exsanguinated body of the Hot Gypsy Woman is found by two boys collecting birds eggs in the forest.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted. Despite Julie's Heel–Face Turn, she's still sentenced to death at the end.
  • Kick the Dog: When the mother of one of the servants asks Dobi if he's seen her, clearly distressed, he suggests she check the whore house.
  • Lady Macbeth: Gender Flipped with Dobi.
  • Lecherous Licking: When Ilona attempts to escape from the cabin by kicking out a board, her captor responds by grabbing her foot and licking her ankle.
  • My Grandson, Myself: Elisabeth passes her youthful self off as her own daughter. Some people do acknowledge that they remembered Ilona differently.
  • Punny Name: Coincidental, since it's the historical Elizabeth Bathroy's real name. She's a royal who bathes in blood.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: During her Villainous Breakdown, Elisabeth sees her now aged reflection in a mirror lying the floor and angrily smashes it.
  • Same Language Dub: Ingrid Pitt's voice is dubbed by Olive Gregg. Ironically her character is Eastern European (Hungarian to be precise) but dubbed to sound English. Ingrid was apparently furious at this and vowed never to speak to the director again.
  • Shown Their Work: The painting that appears behind the opening credits is one depicting the real Elisabeth enjoying the torture inflicted upon her prisoners.
  • Shrinking Violet: Bertha, a girl bought from a seller in the village specifically for Elisabeth's plan. She's naturally picked because only a virgin's blood will work.
  • Tarot Troubles: The Hot Gypsy Woman fortuneteller gives a tarot reading to Elisabeth. Although she talks in the normal general metaphors of fortunetelling, each of her metaphors is literally true of the Countess.
  • Title Drop: As the very last line of the film.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Lieutenant Toth appears to have no interests beyond horses and pretty girls.
  • Vain Sorceress: Elisabeth is a borderline example. She's not actually a sorceress but she fits the trope anyway, because she uses supernatural means to restore her beauty out of vanity.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Ziza the town whore drops the 100 krona Dobi pays her for her services down her cleavage. Or, rather, she drops the first coin and Dobi drops the second.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Only the blood of a virgin will work on Elisabeth.
  • Weaponized Headgear: Elisabeth murders the Hot Gypsy Woman by stabbing her through her jugular with a jeweled hairpin.