A Frenchman stuck in New Orleans has just had a colossal argument. The mother of his infant child has left him wallet-less and with a wailing baby. He must get diapers for his son, but he does not speak English.
Bathory is based on the legends surrounding the life and deeds of Countess Elizabeth Bathory known as the greatest murderess in the history of mankind. Contrary to popular belief, Elizabeth Bathory was a modern Renaissance woman who ultimately fell victim to mens aspirations for power and wealth.
Mostly decent, although they got the Countess Bathory story all wrong...
This documentary did give quite a few interesting insights into the evolution of the vampire in popular culture from Stoker's time up to today, even though it all but ignored earlier stories such as Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla" that likely influenced Stoker. Especially intriguing was the look into so-called psychic vampires and the modern underground vampire culture...I had no idea it was as codified as it appears to be.
But this documentary fails miserably in one area that cannot be ignored...who, I must ask, did the fact-checking on the Elizabeth Bathory story, and what controlled substance were they consuming at the time? As early as 1983, with Raymond McNally's "Dracula Was A Woman", the fact had been established from the court documents (translations of which are in the aforementioned book) from Bathory's trial, which includes testimony from her servants, that while she did commit many bloody atrocities against her servant girls and derived much pleasure from shedding their blood, no evidence exists that she actually bathed in their blood. While some may criticize McNally for his earlier well-meaning if overzealous attempts to link Vlad Tepes Dracula with the literary Count Dracula in more than just name, this time he has the documented facts to back his thesis. The blood-bathing was an embellishment to the story that gained momentum starting in the 18th century and was picked up as fact by later historians and filmmakers who popularized the myth...one of its most recent manifestations is the figure produced by MacFarlane Toys showing Bathory bathing in a tub of blood. I wonder if this figure served as an inspiration for the producers of this documentary to portray as fact something that was debunked over two decades ago. In addition, while Rudolf II was indeed King of Hungary at one time during Countess Bathory's life, the ruler who wanted her prosecuted was actually his successor, King Matthias II. All of this being said, I have to agree with the other reviewers about Christa Bella's portrayal of Countess Bathory...she brings an air of evil to the role that can best be described as delicious.
All in all, "Vampire Secrets" is a very well-made and thought-out documentary with the exception of the Bathory story...if you want the truth about her, watch the Discovery Channel documentary "The Most Evil Women in History: Countess Dracula"...it encapsulates all of the facts about this wicked woman into less than half an hour, and does it well.
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