I’ve seen at least a dozen Hammer Horror films, both old and new. As far as the classics go, I’d say I’ve seen more of them for the first time thanks to companies like Synapse, that constantly release them to Blu-ray. Such is the case for Countess Dracula. This was a first time viewing for me, so it was good to be able to sit down with Synapse’s new Blu-ray release of the film. The story, you’ll recognize immediately. Old countess, feasts on the blood of young virgins in order to regain her youthful outer appearance. It is a story that has been told to death, but nobody does it quite like Hammer. I recognize the appeal of a film like Countess Dracula, and I did enjoy watching it, but things like these are sometimes films I can only see myself watching once. I’m a patient man, but some subject matter needs to have a little something extra to keep my attention for any longer than the required amount. And, unfortunately, Countess Dracula didn’t show me anything that I felt I would absolutely need to revisit some day in the future.
THE VOLUPTUOUS INGRID PITT STARS IN THIS REMASTERED HAMMER HORROR CLASSIC!
The beautiful Ingrid Pitt (The Wicker Man, Where Eagles Dare) stars as Elisabeth Nádasdy, an aging Hungarian Countess who discovers she can reverse her aging by bathing in the blood of young women. While in her youthful state, the Countess falls for the handsome Lt. Imre Toth (Sandor Elès), and impersonates her own daughter to win his affections. Soon, girls in the village go missing… kidnapped and murdered by the Countess and her steward, Julie (Patience Collier) to satiate her horrifying bloodlust. Can Elisabeth live a life of deception with her grotesque lust for blood to stay eternally young, or will her ghoulish secret finally be revealed? Co-starring Nigel Green (Jason and the Argonauts, Zulu).
Considered “one of the more underrated films from the latter days of the Hammer Films dynasty“ (Donald Guarisco, Allmovie.com), Countess Dracula is based on the real-life Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a woman accused of torturing and murdering more than 600 girls.
Lack of boobies aside, this is a really good release of this film, so you should probably just buy it anyway. I can’t think of a single Synapse Blu-ray that isn’t worth owning, though I’m a bit of a Blu-ray hoarder myself. The AVC-encoded 1080p transfer, in 1.66:1, remains impressive throughout. All of Synapse’s Blu-ray transfers are largely solid, thinking back. As a company that is in the game for the purpose of film preservation, this love shows in everything they touch. A Synapse Blu-ray is the closest viewing experience you’re going to get to “the way it was meant to be seen”, without driving hundreds of miles on the off chance that you could catch a 35mm screening of the film somewhere. The DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track, is almost as impressive as the video presentation. There are a few minor instances of volume inconsistency, if you’re paying extremely close attention, but it’s such a non-issue that you’d miss it if you sneezed or yawned. There is also a healthy amount of extras on the disc, which I will list in their entirety below. Amount them are commentaries, interviews, documentaries, still galleries, and even a reversible cover art. Synapse’s Blu-ray release of Countess Dracula is highly recommended. You can purchase your copy here.
- Audio commentary with actress Ingrid Pitt, director Peter Sasdy, screenwriter Jeremy Paul and author Jonathan Sothcott
- Immortal Countess: The Cinematic Life of Ingrid Pitt – Featurette
- Archival Audio Interview with Ingrid Pitt
- Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible Cover Artwork