After the success of The Vampire Lovers, Hammer knew they could make money by showing more female skin in their productions. The actress showing the most skin in the that film was actress Ingrid Pitt so they decided to give her body another go around with their next production Countess Dracula. The results of Countess Dracula however prove that just by showing more skin by far doesn't make a great film.
The film opens with an old queen bitch who is unhappy with the will reading at her husband's wake. While getting ready for a bath she bitch slaps a mad and when the mad's blood touches her skin, it proves to make her young again. She locks up her visiting daughter in order to be a stand in and all goes well until she reverts to her old age again, only uglier, after a few days. So she and her second in command start combing the village for virgins and he is willing until she falls in love with a younger man, then all hell breaks loose due to jealously.
Due to the title many people will expect to be a vampire film which it isn't. Many people actually mistakenly think this to be an entry into Hammer's Dracula franchise but again this isn't so. It's actually a version of the classic legend of Elizabeth Bethory so basically it's about an old hag who bathes in blood to look young. Here lies the problem as there isn't enough plot to make this worthy of an hour and a half and there's very little action to keep the film moving.
Another problem is Ingrid Pitt just isn't that strong of a n actress to carry a film. The Vampire Lovers had a lot more going on so it didn't really mostly on her shoulders and here she proves her body isn't enough to hold a film together.
The production values are also a shy compared to older, better Hammer outings and the studios declining popularity is very evident, despite the Studio desperately trying to stay afloat by adding nudity into their films.
Hammer fans will find something to like but this is a far cry from great Hammer material. It lacks the great actors of other Hammer outings as well as production values. It also lacks the likable exploitation elements of The Vampire Lovers making this an overall very disappointing effort from the studio. Perhaps Ingrid Pitt would have been better off doing the sequel to Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, instead of this? Hard to say...
Written By Eric Reifschneider
Countess Dracula Trailer
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