The wife of a policeman shows up at the mansion of one Elizabeth Caine (or is she Erzsebet Bathory) for a lesbian tryst, but has her neck punctured by her host. Ray, the cop, investigates his wife’s disappearance, and very quickly suspects Bathory, but has difficulty assembling proof. To make matters worse, bodies of young women start piling up, and the evidence points more and more damningly toward Ray. He is in a race to prove his innocence and stop Bathory before she kills again.
< ...>Erzsebet Bathory is one of history’s more notorious figures, a woman who had some 650 women killed in order to bathe in her blood, believing that this would preserve her youth. How the extended tortures her victims were subjected to was supposed to help in this project she neglected to explain. At any rate, she is one of the closest incarnations that any real person has come to the superhuman monsters in the writings of Sade. Prime material for really disturbing horror films, but the results to date have been mixed. Hammer’s Countess Dracula (1970) is the best version, and like this one, is explicitly supernatural. The Legend of Blood Castle (1972, AKA The Female Butcher) is a worthy attempt, though it deals with copycat crimes rather than the real thing, for no clear reason. This most recent take opts for a vampire version of Basic Instinct, and though it looks nice (and refreshingly allows Montreal to play itself), it pulls too many punches at the level of both eroticism and gore. The climax, however, does feature a marble bathtub that the real Bathory would no doubt have approved of.
The audio is a real treat, plunging the viewer into a fully immersive environment from the word go. The rain effects are superb, the placement is excellent, and the music sounds terrific. Music that is taking place in the story also sounds great, in some instances creating a huge sense of space. Some very nice sound design going on here.
The colours are very rich, and the blacks and contrasts are very strong, too. There is no visible edge enhancement, but grain is a real problem. It isn’t bad in the daylight scenes, but the night sequences (of which there are many) are very problematic. Too bad, since this is a nice-looking film.
Nothing here but some trailers, and none of them are for the feature itself. The menu is basic.
We’re still waiting for the definitive Bathory film. This one is sumptuous but tepid.
Special Features List