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a rather good moment involving a hairpin that stands out in terms of the Hammer films (this DVD package was temporarily withdrawn because "Countess Dracula" was erroneously rated "PG" and you can only wonder how many children were exposed to Pitt's self ministrations).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. The subplot with the young lovers Imre and Ilona generates no chemistry and therefore no real interest. In the end, what we keep coming back to is the bloody sponge bath, which becomes the raison d'etre for this film from director Peter Sasdy. This film has nothing to do with the Hammer Dracula series, but that hardly matters to those who like this film.
Much the better of the pair, "The Vampire Lovers," directed by Roy Ward Baker in 1970, is the first in the Karnstein trilogy of Hammer films, all based quite loosely on Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's story "Carmilla." The Karnsteins are a clan of vampires, represented in this version by a bunch of scantily clad women. Pitt stars as Carmilla, who also goes under the anagram names of Mircalla and Marcilla at various points in the story (yes, there is a story). The last of her clan, Carmilla is trying to rebuild, turning first to Laura (Pippa Steele), the daughter of General Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing) and then Emma (Madeleine Smith), the daughter of Roger Morton (George Cole). Along the way she turns Mademoiselle Perrodon (Kate O'Mara) into a sexual slave. In the great tradition of Dracula and most other vampire films, Laura dies before anyone recognizes the marks of the vampire and then the goal is to save poor Emma from the same fate.
There is a lot in "The Vampire Lovers" that never makes much sense. Who is the countess (Dawn Addams) who travels with Mircalla? What is up with the black-clad vampire (John Forbes Robertson) who keeps hanging around? Supposedly Mircalla is the last of her clan, but maybe not. Mircalla keeps saying she loves her victims, but they all end up dead, which certainly does not help out her clan much. In the end it is clear that Hammer, aided and abetted by American International in this instance, was making a flat-out lesbian vampire film. As such, I can honestly say that you are not going to find a better one out there. Ironically, "The Vampire Lovers" ends up being more erotic than the vast majority of films featuring heterosexual relationships between the undead and their victims.