U.K. • 1971 • COLOUR • 35MM • 93 MIN

While male vampires have historically dominated the genre, certain figures from legend and literature have emerged as prototypes for the female vampire, the most renowned of which was Elisabeth Bathory, a Hungarian Countess reputed to have murdered hundreds of young women.

Following her success in The Vampire Lovers (1970), based upon yet another prototype for the female vampire, Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, Ingrid Pitt stars as the Countess Elisabeth. For Hammer, Pitt was the personification of the sexually desirable and dangerous vampire — a female predator obsessed with youth and beauty. Unlike her counterparts in this season, the Countess does not drink blood but bathes in the blood of virgins in order to grow young. In true Hammer style, the film is replete with sex, blood and corpses, and wallows in the excesses of the Bathory legend. Pitt is a monstrous villainess whose gruesome crimes lead to an unexpected and yet well deserved climax.

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