Bathory follows the life of the infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who used to bathe in the blood of virgins to stay forever young. A very controversial personality who was willing to kill without any regret to fulfill her wild fantasies. There are many bands, songs, and paintings dedicated to her brutal quest for eternal youth. You might even call her the first recorded serial killer. And the most prolific one.
So, what kind of a movie is Bathory? First of all, you should know it’s a whopping two and a half hours long. This means you need to dedicate a whole evening to it. Secondly, it looks and feels very appealing. However, the script and storytelling could have been better. It would seem they got lost in the efforts to tell the “complete story”. I think this would be a much tighter movie if they focused on just a few elements.
We will be seeing large-scale battles, court intrigue, the life of the servants, and many other events. And we didn’t even get to the whole murdering part of the story. And while most of the movie features this grandiose and at times macabre atmosphere, there are some parts of it that are problematic. The attempts to make brighten the mood with comic relief characters came off as clumsy and dull. Mostly because they didn’t fit well with the rest of the themes. However, that’s a minor issue that shouldn’t influence your final opinion of Bathory.
Erzsébet Bathory is a countess living in Hungary. She’s very interested in medicine and is actively trying to learn more about it in her makeshift hospital beneath her castle. She’s known as a healer but also as a ruthless ruler. After a strange witch called Darvulia saves her from poisoning, she offers her something that would make anyone think twice: a male heir and eternal beauty…
The filmography is beautiful, with lots of great shots of the countryside and the medieval setting. This helped with the atmosphere immensely, transporting you to this strange world. Especially if you’re not from Europe. There’s also a fair number of very sexual and provocative scenes, and this made Bathory a very interesting experience. However, you should not expect some totally edgy scenes, because this is, after all, a European mainstream production effort. It tries to be a bit too artistic, and that is getting in the way of the storytelling, but not too much, so you can follow the story and enjoy weird dreams of blood and sex.
Bathory: Countess of Blood as is the full name of this movie is an immersive experience. It will shine a light on one of the creepiest and weirdest stories about serial killers. And there are plenty of them. So, be sure you’re in a mood for this type of a period movie and you should be fine.
Wikipedia link: Elizabeth Báthory
Director: Juraj Jakubisko
Writers: Juraj Jakubisko, John Paul Chapple, Lubomír Feldek
Cast: Anna Friel, Vincent Regan, Hans Matheson, Franco Nero, Antony Byrne, Lucie Vondrácková
Fun Facts: Famke Janssen was originally signed on for the part of Bathory, but for reasons unknown she backed out.
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469640/