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Useful Notes / Elizabeth Báthory

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She invites the peasants with endless lavish foods
But when evening spreads it wings, she rapes them of their blood!
Venom"Countess Bathory"

Countess Elisabeth Báthory (August 7, 1560 - August 21, 1614) was a Hungarian noblewoman who has become renowned as a pre-modern Serial Killer, allegedly kidnapping, torturing, and murdering dozens of young peasant girls. According to some accounts, she also drained her victims of their blood so that she could bathe in it, believing that it held the secret to eternal youth. These tales earned her nicknames such as "The Blood Countess" and "Countess Dracula".note 

She was never given a formal trial, but instead sentenced to solitary confinement in a room of Čachtice Castle where her only human contact was the people who delivered her food, eventually dying in her sleep after four years. She was buried in an unmarked grave whose location is now lost to history.

More recently, there has been some speculation that she was actually innocent, with the sensational allegations against her the product of superstition and misogyny, most likely drummed up by her political enemies, such as the Holy Roman Emperor Matthias II (who owed her a lot of money he would have loved not to have to pay back) and George Thurzo, Palatine of Hungary (who was in charge of the investigation, and also stood to inherit her entire fortune and holdings). This doesn't necessarily mean she was innocent, of course. From her own letters, we know that she did have servants beaten, and seems to have been a pretty harsh mistress. However, it's hard to deny that some very powerful men benefited greatly from having this woman out of the way, and as noted above, she was never given a formal trial, and therefore, was never actually convicted (conviction would have meant that her next of kin - Thurzo - wouldn't have been able to inherit, which he ultimately did), hence her unusual punishment instead of a simple execution. Regardless of the complicated story, her story has passed into folklore as a real-life monster.

Because of the graphic nature of her reputed crimes that speak to the imagination, she has since become a proto-demonic figure in popular culture, often depicted as a vampire or other type of monster.

More information on The Other Wiki.

Also see Lizzie Borden for another famous Elizabeth who is remembered as a murderer despite never actually being convicted.

Tropes applying to her in media:

  • Appearance Angst: In keeping with the legend, many portrayals of Bathory depict her as so afraid of the ravages of age that she bathes in the blood of young virgins in an attempt to protect her youthful appearance forever.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Even when she's not actually portrayed as an undead monster, her high position is the reason why she was able to get away with her crimes for so long.
  • Bad Boss: Most of her crimes were against her own servants; even if she didn't horrifically torture and kill them, she most definitely beat them.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: She allegedly believed that bathing in blood would keep her young, so many works will vindicate this by presenting her as a genuinely supernatural being, such as a vampire or Wicked Witch.
  • Blood Bath: She is reputed to have bathed in the blood of her victims.
  • Blood Countess: She's probably the Trope Maker for this character archetype.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Lesser gentry sent their daughters to her castle to learn courtly etiquette. Supposedly, she chose many of her victims from her pupils.
  • Burn the Witch! / Torches and Pitchforks: Works suggesting she was innocent usually invoke this, portraying her enemies as superstitious rubes lead by scheming opportunists.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Again, she never received a proper trial. The overwhelming majority of cultural depictions, however, take the accusations against her at face value and her guilt as a given.
  • Fairest of Them All: Her blood baths are the result from her compulsion to remain young and/or beautiful.
  • Historical Beauty Update: She was a rather plain-looking woman, as well as middle-aged when she actually committed her crimes. In fiction she's usually depicted as strikingly beautiful, possibly because of magic, though this goes hand in hand with Evil Is Sexy.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: As pointed out, while (allegedly) a prolific killer, she was not literally a soulless monster.
  • Immortality Immorality: Her aims to stay eternally young and beautiful make her a monstrous mass murderer.
  • Serial Killer: One of the earliest.

Depictions in media:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ellie from Ms. Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood is heavily implied to be Báthory living in the present day as an immortal vampire, given her fondness for young girls, bathing in blood, her Transylvanian origin, and the fact she shares a birthday with the historical Báthory.

    Comic Books 
  • The Dynamite Comics series The Blood Queen casts Elizabeth Bathory as a member of a suppressed Mage Species who is adept in Blood Magic. Her ascension into a bloodthirsty tyrant in her own right is to get back at the world.
  • Elizabeth Bathory is portrayed as a vampire in the Dark Shadows/Vampirella crossover where she serves as the main villain.
  • In the 2000 AD comic A Love Like Blood, Lady Bathory is part of a distant bloodline of the first vampire, Lord Karkossa. Although she doesn't appear herself, Karkossa wakes up some of her beastlike descendents to act as his foot soldiers.
  • Appears as the wife of Dracula in Requiem Chevalier Vampire, depicted as a nubile young woman in an insanely Stripperiffic outfit. She has a more prominent role in the prequel when she gets romantically involved with Claudia, a social-climbing vampire.
  • In Secret Six, Jeannette claims to have been one of Elizabeth Bathory's handmaidens. She also claims that she killed Bathory by putting ground glass in her food until her insides were torn to shreds.

    Fan Works 
  • Birth of Evil sees her raising Rose the Hat and introduces her into the idea of stealing steam from women with the Shining as a way of achieving eternal beauty.

    Film — Live Action 
  • There are several films which have attempted to counteract the usual negative depiction by giving the Countess a Historical Hero Upgrade that suggest that the charges against her were either trumped up or outright false.
    • Bathory took the position that she was completely innocent of any of the murders, and was really a kind and loving mother and ruler who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was the victim of the malicious slanders of greedy noblemen. That's not even getting into the ridiculousness of the monks spying on her.
    • The Countess is similar, but with one main difference: this Elizabeth Bathory is guilty of several murders. However, she is driven to it by circumstances, and an attempt to stay young and beautiful while she is in power. In this film, she is definitely a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. You still feel sorry for her and sympathize with what she is going through.
  • Countess Dracula is a fictionalized account with a No Historical Figures Were Harmed stand-in for Bathory.
  • Daughters of Darkness (1971) combines her with tropes more appropriate to Carmilla; Delphine Seyrig plays a youthful looking and beautiful Lesbian Vampire Bathory who charms and seduces young women. Although her portrayal is very Carmilla, her backstory is that of the historical Bathory - at one point she fondly reminisces about her "ancestor"'s brutality, the various tortures she inflicted on her victims, and even references her eventual fate of being walled up inside her castle.
  • In Eternal, Elisabeth Báthory is an immortal vampire living under the alias of Elizabeth Kane and still bathing in the blood of young women to maintain her youth in the 21st century.
  • Fright Night 2: New Blood: Although it's not stated outright, it's heavily implied that the vampire using the alias "Gerri" is actually Elizabeth Bathory, being an early modern noblewoman from eastern Europe who was turned and bathes in the blood of her victims to restore her beauty.
  • Mama Dracula is a 1980 horror comedy with Louise Fletcher as a Bathory Expy.
  • Stay Alive (2006): The in-universe video game "Stay Alive" is based on the legend of the Blood Countess, and it ends up summoning Elizabeth Bathory's ghost to kill people for real. However, this version of the countess is transposed to a Southern Gothic setting, living in an old plantation house instead of a castle in Eastern Europe. It doesn't make a lot of sense.
  • Thirst (1979): The protagonist Kate Davis is said to be a direct descendant of Bathory.

  • Buffyverse: In the Tales of the Slayers story "Die Blutgrafin", when a Slayer named Ildikó Géllert learned of corpses being disposed of from Bathory's castle, she infiltrated Bathory's castle by pretending to be a maid to investigate if she was a vampire. However, Bathory eventually drugs and kills her with an Iron Maiden, and she dies without learning if Bathory is a vampire or not.
  • Fate/Requiem: Bathory was summoned as a Servant five separate times. They become singers in Shibuya with a large fan following. Voyager mistakes them for sisters.
  • The Otherworld: The 16th century noblewoman and Serial Killer Elizabeth Bathory was a prolific vampire who murdered hundreds of people in order to gain immortality before the story began.

Elizabeth is a popular topic of various Horrible History Metal songs. Examples include:
  • Early Black Metal band Bathory is named after her, and the song "Woman of Dark Desires" is specifically about her.
  • Ghost's song "Elizabeth" states that her murders are part of a pact with Satan.
    Her pact with Satan / Her disposal of mankind
    Her acts of cruelty and her lust for blood / Makes her one of us

    Our ancient countess was refused her desires will
    To bathe in pure fresh blood / She'd peasant virgins killed
  • Venom's "Countess Bathory", which covers her crimes.
    • Macabre also covered this song on their Grim Scary Tales album.
  • Kamelot did an entire trilogy of songs about her in their album Karma: "Elizabeth I: Mirror Mirror", "Elizabeth II: Requiem for the Innocent" and ""Elizabeth III: Fall from Grace".
  • Slayer's "Beauty Through Order".
  • Cradle of Filth's third album Cruelty and the Beast is a Concept Album about Lizzie's life, with Ingrid Pitt providing narration, essentially reprising her role from Countess Dracula.
  • The Vocaloid song Iron Maiden and the Dreamy Princess by Joruzin featuring Kagamine Rin is a fast paced song that condenses Elizabeth's story down to a little under 4 minutes. With a gorgeous but slightly terrifying pixel art Animated Music Video.

    Tabletop Games 
  • She appears in Atmosfear as one of the original six Harbringers, a seductive woman who turns into a bat-demon hybrid.
  • She shows up in Sentinels of the Multiverse as Blood Countess Bathory, the setting's first vampire and leader of the Court of Blood.

    Video Games 
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Bodley Mansion's original Japanese name, "Badori" was likely a reference to her.
    • Castlevania: Bloodlines features the vampire Elizabeth Bartley, obviously based on Bathory, as the instigator of World War I, in hopes of using the souls of those who die in the war as part of a ritual to resurrect Dracula.
  • In the Bloodstained games Curse of the Moon and Ritual of the Night we have Bloodless, a demon that bathes in blood (three times a day without fail, no less!) that has control over blood, and can absorb it to recover health.
  • A No Historical Figures Were Harmed of Bathory (named simple The Countess) appears in Diablo II as an optional quest boss.
  • Rusalka Schwägelin from Dies Irae is in possession of Elisabeth's diary which she uses as her relic. With it she is able to call forth a whole host of different torture devices to use on her foes or victims, the most deadly of which is an Iron Maiden.
  • Sayo Nagakura, the diminutive servant of Kanae from Full Metal Daemon Muramasa is in possession of a Blood Crux named after and supposedly belonged to Bathory. Unlike so many other cruxes, it is lacking in armor. But in exchange, it is able to spread thorny vines dubbed Iron Maiden that drains the blood of whoever they skewer and restores Sayo's youth. There is also a lot of not so subtle implications that Sayo is in fact the blood countess herself.
  • A Stigmata set based on Elizabeth Bathory appears in Honkai Impact 3rd. The individual Stigma have effects that occur if the user has more than 80% HP, and if the three are put together, they give a chance for the user to recover a small amount of HP by their normal attacks.
  • Nasuverse:
    • Fate/EXTRA CCC features a 14-year-old Erzsabet "Liz" Bathory as a Lancer- and later Berserker-class Servant, taking the place of Vlad the Impaler from the original Fate/EXTRA. Due to her reputation as a "Daughter of the Dragon" interacting with the Bathory family's trace amounts of dragon blood, her appearance as a Servant is distorted from the original person, with horns, a tail, retractible wings, and a sound-based Breath Weapon. She is an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who styles herself as an Idol Singer, complete with an outfit that looks like it belongs on stage, and her spear has a microphone in it. One of her Noble Phantasms manifests the castle where she committed her murders, but due to her off-kilter summoning it's warped to incorporate giant speakers that amplify the power of her sonic attacks. Also, her singing is horrendous and also often weaponized, while she's absolutely convinced that she's a good singer. Ironically we hear her actually sing in Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star. Her song, AKOGARE~TION, preformed by her VA Rumi Ōkubo, is actually a perfectly enjoyable song.
    • Fate/Grand Order:
      • In addition to her Lancer self, "Liz" can be summoned as a Caster and a Saber during the first and second Halloween events, respectively (she's pretty much the game's Halloween mascot). Her Caster self is explained that her family lineage and dragon blood gave her vast magical potential. Though she is untrained in magecraft, her spells are powerful. Her Saber self is explained that she wished to be a hero to atone for her past crimes. Since she has no idea how to be a hero, she simply wears an 80s-style Chainmail Bikini that looks awkward on her tiny body and charges at threats despite having no sword training, relying on her strength to see her through.
      • The Assassin-class Servant "Carmilla" is actually an adult Bathory who has fully embraced her malevolent "Blood Countess" persona and taken on aspects of the fictional character inspired by her. Her Noble Phantasm drains life force from enemies by trapping them in an Iron Maiden, and is more effective against women. It is noted that the iron maiden did not actually exist, but she has it because people believed she used it. Naturally, when introduced to the teenage "Liz", Liz hates Carmilla and Carmilla considers Liz an embarrassment. Despite all this, she soon gets defeated by Liz and ends up as her personal Butt-Monkey.
      • Carmilla later becomes a Rider-class Servant (having converted her Iron Maiden into a car) with a Phantom Thief gimmick, and taunts Liz about looking better in a swimsuit than she does.
      • There are two Alter Ego-class Servants, Mecha Eli-chan and Mecha Eli-chan MkII (from the third Halloween event). They are robots created in Liz's likeness from the guardian statues of her castle and have some of Liz's memories and powers. Some of their actions and abilities are homages to Showa Mechagodzilla. Mecha Eli-chan is devoted to justice and protecting people but is coldly logical, while MkII looks down on humanity and inherited Bathory's sadism, causing them to come into conflict.
      • In 2021, Liz becomes a Rider-class Servant by cosplaying as Cinderella for Halloween, where she uses the pumpkin carriage and glass slippers as weapons. However, she also takes cues from Snow White, such as being assisted by seven dwarves and using the Magic Mirror as a weapon (and getting pissed when the Magic Mirror shows other people being the Fairest of Them All), and Little Red Riding Hood by having a Skill that gives her an advantage over wild beasts to symbolize defeating The Big Bad Wolf. She also gains a dragon-shaped Battle Aura in one of her attacks.
      • 2022 introduces a Pretender-class Servant called Nine-Tattoo Dragon Eliza. This is Liz fused with the character Shi Jin, which causes her to turn into a small, innocent child while Shi Jin possesses her dragon-headed nine section staff. Her Noble Phantasm lets her summon all of her previous incarnations as well as Carmilla to assist her in battle.
  • Ninja Gaiden: One of the villains in Ninja Gaiden II is Elizébet. Between her name and Bloody Murder abilities, she is an obvious reference to Elizabeth Bathory.
  • Skullgirls: The character Eliza is partly inspired by Elizabeth Bathory as shown in her name and Bloody Murder powers.

     Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron has the Countess Erzsebet Ondrushko—a No Historical Figures Were Harmed version of Bathory—as the Big Bad of the story. Here, she's a vampire who sold her soul to Hecate for eternal life, and bathes in the blood of innocents to preserve her beauty.