Sunday, October 24, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lady Bathory Night

Lady of Csejte aka The Blood Queen (2015)
I have seen a lot of attempts of telling the Bathory story.  This one focuses more on the history than the vampire retellings. Though it gets some of that wrong as well.

The Blood Queen (2015)

The acting by the young stars,  Isabelle Allen as Aletta and Lucas Bond as her brother Mischa, is quite good really.  I expect to see more of them in the future.

Equally, Svetlana Khodchenkova is hypnotic as Bathory. Watching her on-screen you really want her to be something other than the monster we know her to be. 

Aletta and Mischa get arrested for being thieves but are soon rescued by the Countess' aides, Dorata and Ilona.  Both children are taken to the castle.

The Countess takes an interest in Aletta, and it is not entirely a wholesome one.  

While Aletta is getting more involved with the castle, and the more Mischa is getting beat up, we discover that kids go missing all the time from the castle.

Mischa is caught stealing Bathory's book and is thrown in the dungeons.  The book is Bathory's diary of the children she tortured, mutilated, and killed.  

Mischa manages to escape and get back to the judge to tell him about Bathory, but the judge decides that Mischa is lying and sentences him to death.    Aletta also tries to escape, thinking that Mischa has left her.  She runs into Katja, the gypsy girl we saw in the beginning.  Katja is Aletta's older sister that went missing the year before.  She had been at Castle Csejte but had escaped.   Katja almost gets away with Aletta, but is killed by Dorata.

Bathory has Aletta chained up above her bath to drain her, but Mischa arrives with Bear, the jailer that Mischa had impressed with his ability to get out of any locks.   Bear saves Aletta, but not before Bathory kills Mischa.  The King's men arrive in time to arrest Bathory. 

After this, the story follows what history tells us.   It's not a bad flick at all, but not a great one either. Light on the explicit horror but heavy on the implied.  They changed Bathory's victims to boys and girls instead of just girls.  I suppose they needed to do this to allow Mischa in.   There was just so much more they could have done with it I feel.

The movie was very stylish. It scene was great to look at and Svetlana Khodchenkova was great as Bathory.  It reminded me a lot of the Daughters of Darkness.  Then I recalled I had a brand new Ultra 4k BluRay I had gotten for my birthday!  I figured I should pop it in.

Daughters of Darkness
Daughters of Darkness (1971)

This is still one of my favorite horror films from the 70s. This new Ultra 4k transfer is fantastic looking.  Blue Underground does a great job as always.  This one is a 3-disc set. An Ultra 4k BlueRay, a regular BluRay, and a soundtrack CD.  

I did Daughters of Darkness in 2019. So watching it now I still have my DVD version in mind.  This one is so much clearer, so much sharper.    For example, when Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) is reading the newspaper you can actually see the page she is reading.   The scene where Stefan beats Valerie is also much, unnecessarily so, clearer.  The car crash at the end is so much brighter and clearer you can see all the skid marks on the road from the other takes. 

Plus it is great watching this right after The Blood Queen is kind of fun.  Both movies featured a haunting portrayal of Ezerabet Bathory as a blonde from two fantastic actresses. Both movies also feature her servant Ilona.  

I have not checked out all the special features yet, but they look interesting. There are two features I did check out are the interviews with Danielle Ouimet "Valerie" and Andrea Rau "Ilona."  Danielle Ouimet's was fantastic and a lot of fun.   Andrea Rau's was also great and also great to hear sounding excited in this.   They look like they were filmed in 2006. Both actresses have nothing but wonderful things to say about Delphine Seyrig.

Each time I watch this I am just fascinated by Delphine Seyrig.  She seems like she is much classier than this movie should be allowed to have. I think about a modern remake of this and I can't think of anyone who could play her the same way.  Though I do admit that Svetlana Khodchenkova came very, very close.

Eternal (2004)
Eternal (2004)

I figure lets keep going.  I had seen most of the other adaptations of the Bathory story from her time period, I had often wondered though what filmmakers had in mind for her post-1971.  I guess the answer is "Canada."  Or at least that is the way that filmmaker Wilhelm Liebenberg sees it in 2004's Eternal. Here we get Caroline Néron as Elizabeth Kane aka Erszabet Bathory.  We don't have an Ilona character, well and Irinia, but there is an actress whose real name is Ilona. 

We open with a woman,"Wildcat" played by Sarah Manninen, who goes to see Elizabeth for some pre-arranged sexual hook-up.  Elizabeth promptly kills her and asks her assistant to prepare her bath.

Soon we learn that the woman was the wife of cop, Raymond Pope (played by Conrad Pla). Raymond is not what you call a faithful husband.  He is having sex with another woman (who we learn is Nancy, the wife of his friend) when he gets the call about his wife's car.  Pope goes to see Erszabet/Elizabeth.  BTW Conrad Pla is not a great actor.  His son Joey Pla, who plays his son Nathan, is a better actor.  Now to be fair the role he is playing is not supposed to be subtle.   Caroline Néron on the other hand is much better. 

Ray continues to investigate Bathory while she kills Nancy.   Ray investigates and drinks and spends time in strip clubs while his friend and son's babysitter Lisa is killed by Irina. 

Ray follows Bathory to Venice (despite being wanted for murder and having a kid to watch)  where he ends up at Bathory's house. Here he hunts her down during her orgy but is shot and stabbed.  He is saved by the Interpol Detective he talked to in Montreal, Inspector Thurzo. Somehow Thurzo, who also seems to be a priest of some sort, has everything cleared up for him. Of course like an idiot Raymond drinks the wine Elizabeth gives him. It is hinted he will go rescue her when she is transferred to a clinic in Switzerland. 

The movie is not great, not by any stretch of the imagination. 

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 44
First Time Views: 31

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