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The Legend of Blood Castle (1973)

Ceremonia sangrienta (original title)
R | | Horror | October 1974 (USA)
The ageing Countess discovers that the blood of a maid can temporarily restore her youth and great beauty. She falls in love with a dashing young soldier but is compelled to kill again and ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Espartaco Santoni ...
Karl Ziemmer
Ana Farra ...
Silvano Tranquilli ...
Lola Gaos ...
Enrique Vivó ...
María Vico ...
Maria Plojovitz
Ángel Menéndez ...
Adolfo Thous ...
Ismael García Romen ...
Capitán (as Ismael García-Romeu)
Raquel Ortuño ...
Loreta Tovar ...
Sandra (as Dolores Tovar)
Franca Grey ...
Ghika ...


The ageing Countess discovers that the blood of a maid can temporarily restore her youth and great beauty. She falls in love with a dashing young soldier but is compelled to kill again and again to maintain her attractiveness and prevent the secret getting out. Written by <P.M.Laws@education.leeds.ac.uk>

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Release Date:

October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood Castle  »

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Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 6 (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Kicks Hammer's Butt
8 April 2004 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

This is a painful, cold, unpleasant but ultimately fascinating entry from the Spanish horror boon that is probably the definitive Elizabeth Bathory treatment, making Hammer's "Countess Dracula" look silly and trite in comparison; that film is a period costume romance compared to BLOOD CASTLE. This is a serious movie that lacks a single light hearted moment, and is a great example of the unbearably suffocating sort of period horror suggested by Michael Reeves' CONQUEROR WORM, which uses the conventions of period horror -- castles, nightgowned beauties, foggy wastes -- to con the viewer into thinking that they are going to get the push-up bras and lesbian nuzzling that these movies usually involve.

What you get is actually anti-erotic, much like Reeves' film, unless the idea of watching people suffer is something that gives you a rise. I like this movies' lack of sensationalism, giving us a straightforward almost scientific explanation for the vampirism in question, and providing a sort of tragic Spanish soap opera element to give us the motivations for the murders. The film is indeed slow, but fans of this kind of stuff will be drinking it in, with Jorge Grau's astute eye for period detail, lighting and atmosphere easily putting this on the same plane with films like "Count Dracula's Great Love", "Count Dracula" and the Rollin efforts as amongst the most distinctive films from the Eurohorror boon. No other movie looks quite like LEGEND OF BLOOD CASTLE (or FEMALE BUTCHER, as it is known in it's uncut form), and few have such an unrelenting, claustrophobic air of dread and sheer decrepidness as LEGEND OF BLOOD CASTLE, which completes the CONQUEROR WORM comparison chart by culminating in a series of Inquisitional torture scenes that far surpass the vampire murders in terms of brutality and horror.

So perhaps that is Grau's ultimate comment: yes, the Bathory legend speaks of just awful, depraved atrocities, but nothing is quite as atrocious & barbaric as Man's own inhumanity to their fellow Man, and especially with the hypocrisy of the Church feeding the fires of hate. HIGHLY recommended, but not for those with short attention spans or the squeamish alike.

And word to the third: The cover shown here is NOT the same movie (that's BLOOD CASTLE, not LEGEND OF BLOOD CASTLE) and beware of a recent North American DVD pressing by a company called MYA: They used a nudity free print with a fullscreen transfer. I've got versions of this film in three languages from twice as many countries: You want the Finnish subtitled English language print called BLOODY CEREMONY. Trust me.


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