The iconic imagery of Hammer Films usually involves Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing driving a stake through (or otherwise murdering) Christopher Lee’s Dracula. The pair made three vampire films together at the studio (and each one several without the other), and indeed these films define one of the most beloved runs in horror movie history.
But while Hammer is rightfully known for vampire films with Lee and Cushing, neither actor appears in Hammer’s best vampire film, and neither do vampires. In 1971, Peter Sasdy turned the historical legend of Elizabeth Báthory into a gothic tragedy rife with the heavy bloodletting and bare breasts that had increasingly marked the studio’s output since the late 60’s, the great Countess Dracula. Continue reading