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Countess Dracula/The Vampire Lovers (Midnite Movies Double Feature) [Import]

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green, Sandor Elès, Maurice Denham, Patience Collier
  • Directors: Peter Sasdy, Roy Ward Baker
  • Writers: Peter Sasdy, Alexander Paal, Gabriel Ronay, Harry Fine, Jeremy Paul
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Fox Video (Canada) Limited
  • Release Date: Aug. 26 2003
  • Run Time: 184 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00009PY48
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Product Description

Polish-born actress Ingrid Pitt's erotically supercharged presence is the highlight of this double bill of vampire chills from Hammer Films. In Countess Dracula, Pitt stars as an aging noblewoman (inspired by the real-life Erzebeth Bathory) who discovers the secret to eternal youth in the veins of young virgins, while in The Vampire Lovers (based on J. Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla"), Pitt's sensuous bloodsucker seduces Hammer starlets Madeleine Smith and Kate O'Mara and incurs the vengeful wrath of Peter Cushing. Countess is the more sober of the two films, with Jeremy Paul's script and Peter Sadsy's direction playing out more like an Old Dark House mystery than Hammer horror, while Lovers' aims for comic-book thrills with plenty of nudity and violence (much of which was trimmed from the American version, but reinstated here); in both cases, Pitt's sexy/scary performances make this DVD a memorably viewing experience for vintage and new-school horror fans alike. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

Due to the enduring cult favorite status of these films and Ingrid Pitt, MGM's double-sided DVD offers a number of extras devoted to this sensuous star. Pitt is featured in audio commentary tracks for both films; on Countess (presented here in widescreen format), she's joined by director Peter Sadsy and screenwriter Jeremy Paul, while on the anamorphic widescreen Vampire Lovers, she is featured alongside director Roy Ward Baker and scripter Tudor Gates. Both tracks are filled with a wealth of production history, though Pitt's accent and fluctuating vocals occasionally make her contributions difficult to hear. Pitt is also heard on Vampire Lovers reading excerpts from the LeFanu short story "Carmilla," on which the film is based, over a battery of production stills. The discs are rounded out by original theatrical trailers for both films and optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Yves-Michel TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 4 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Both movies are more gothic/dark than real horror. Not Sexploitation, but a blend of classy lust and atmospheric tension. Ingrid Pitt is casted in roles made for her. She can act circles around recent days starlets.

Enjoyable.... Budget priced.... A no-miss.

One drawback : I found the movies a bit on the long side.
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The commonality between these two Hammer films is that they both star Ingrid Pitt, which means they are both driven more by eroticism than horror. "Countess Dracula" is really a metaphorical title because we are not talking about a true member of the Dracula family (or even a vampire for that matter) but rather a figure clearly based on the historic figure of the Countess Elisabeth Bathory, a 16th Century noblewoman who bathed in the blood of virgins to preserve her youth and whose legend is frequently cited in the historical basis for vampirism. In this 1970 film set in medieval Europe, the aging Countess Elisabeth Nadasdy (Ingrid Pitt), is a cruel ruler who discovers that when she washes in the blood of young girls it makes her young again. So she orders her lover, Captain Dobi (Nigel Green) to go out and find more of them. However, when the Countess starts pretending to be her own daughter, Ilona (Lesley-Anne Down), so she can go out and enjoy the company of the younger Imre Toth (Sandor Eles), Dobi gets jealous. Then the Countess discovers that her rejuvenation requires the blood of only virgins, and Dobi's job gets a lot more difficult.
The truth is that the main attraction here is Pitt's countess giving herself a bloody sponge bath, but there is a rather good moment involving a hairpin that stands out in terms of the Hammer films (this DVD package was temporarily withdrawn because "Countess Dracula" was erroneously rated "PG" and you can only wonder how many children were exposed to Pitt's self ministrations). How much you like this film will have to do with what you think about the makeup job on the Countess, because she keeps bouncing back and forth.
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Two wonderful Hammer films with a vampire theme.
Countess Dracula is not really about a vampire, but a retelling of Countess Bathory and the legend that she killed virgins so that she could bathe in their blood. In this story, the Countess accidently discovers the rejuvenating powers of blood. As she switches between crone and beauty, she must deal with court intrigue, lovers, suspicions and loyalty. Although the box claims this movie is rated PG, there is plenty of nudity.
The Vampire Lovers is a retelling of Sheridan Le Fanu's classic lesbian vampire tale Carmilla. Ingrid Pitt plays a vampire who keeps getting invited to stay at estates where she can prey on young daughters. Nicely told but with a few gaps in the story. We find out Carmilla's origin but who are her mother and the gentleman in black? Other than these two lapses, the rest of the story is beautifully done and I loved seeing how modern science slowly step out of the way of the occult.
Two nicely-done thrillers with beautiful sets and costumes (these are Hammer films after all) as well as decent casting. Good viewing fare for vampire film fans.
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The Vampire Lovers, while certainly well made and acted, it didn't really live up to the hype of being Hammer's creative high of the 70s. The story has no sense of urgency or menance until the last 3 minutes, and even than it still manages to end with a whimper. On the bright side MGM Technical Services outdid themselves with a superb restoration of the video and audio. If only all catalogue titles received such lavish attention. The commentary is a little dry, but Pitt/Baker/Gates do provide some interesting factoids about the film and Hammer in general. The best feature, for me, is the excerpts of "Carmilla" read by Ingrid Pitt. Apart from the pleasure of hearing her lovely accent, which I adore, it's made me want to track down Le Fanu's original novella. Countess Dracula was more of a chore! Again it's nicely made and the actors all rise to the occassion, but the script pulls them right back down. Peter Sasdy and Jeremy Paul have obviously worked on too many genteel BBC production by this point, because Countess Dracula plays exactly like a plodding early television drama (With blood and ... of course!). Pitt/Sasdy/Paul provide a fairly standard commentary. We learn early on that both Sasdy and Paul have had very good educations, and while Ingrid remains mum for most of the time she does offer some historical notes on the real Erzebet Bathori. After hearing Mr. Sasdy accent on the commentary one wonders why he decided to dub Ingrid's in the film, as Pitt once mentioned in an interview, his could explode a banana! While enjoyable, The Vampire Lovers and Countess Dracula certainly aren't the creative reawakening Hammer would experience with Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter and Hands of the Ripper they are not without their own charms.
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My hat is off to the folks at MGM/UA for this fabulous pair-of films, that is, on this DVD. Luscious, Polish-born Ingrid Pitt scored a triple home run in 1970, appearing in 3 entertaining horror films, "The Vampire Lovers", "Countess Dracula", and "The House That Dripped Blood". Ms. Pitt had lived through real-life horror, having been born in a Nazi concentration camp. Hammer executive James Carreras was charmed by Ms. Pitt (they met at a dinner party), and cast her as Carmilla in "The Vampire Lovers", based on Sheridan leFanu's famed vampire novella. To be brief, the story is about Countess Mircalla Karnstein, (she uses her name as an anagram, i.e. Marcilla and Carmilla),undead for 250 years, who ingratiates herself into various households, and preys upon the young daughters of her hosts. The film, directed by Roy Ward Baker, follows the book fairly closely, though Ms. Pitt's Carmilla is not the morose, wan girl as depicted by leFanu. Pitt's Carmilla is a worldly, enticing, and very sexy woman. She is also a voracious predator, and does not discriminate. Men and women, especially women, are all fair game to her! The film plays up the lesbian angle of the story, and Ms. Pitt's gorgeous figure is displayed to great advantage. Her husky, "continental" accent and style make a great contrast to the "English roses" of Madeline Smith and Pippa Steel. Hammer great Peter Cushing lends his usual fine presence to the film, as well as a young Jon Finch, Ferdy Mane, Kate O'Mara, and Dawn Addams as "The Countess", working a hairdo that would fit right in with the B52s! My only real gripe about this film is the women's hairdos, which date the film "big time". The women look like escapees from "Love American Style", with the exception of O'Mara's accurate Regency-style hairdo.Read more ›
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