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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Interesting vampire documentary from past to present

10/10
Author: woodkmw from United States
12 February 2007

I really enjoyed this documentary. It gives an excellent account of the historical basis for the vampire legend, actual vampire stories both past and present and then enters the eerie world of modern day "vampires" both in role playing and in actual murders. Overall I thought the stories were very intriguing, the acting well done and the historical re-enactments very interesting. It would be a good documentary to watch regardless of your level of interest in vampires. The modern-day stories were in fact much more frightening than some of the historic accounts. I also felt the story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory was well done and gave a very good, excruciatingly bloody account of her years of murder and vampirism. The actress is quite good in her portrayal as are the cohorts. The modern-day story of the disappearance of Susan Walsh and the Village Voice investigations into the NY vampire scene are really haunting. I think that was one of the scariest parts of the program.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Mostly decent, although they got the Countess Bathory story all wrong...

7/10
Author: caesarrdn from United States
21 July 2007

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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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Wonderfully horrible

10/10
Author: actorgregory from United States
31 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Christa Bella portrait of the countess was excellent. She showed with little dialog the story of this evil, vain woman who discovered a vampire-like desire for virgin, maiden blood and that it would keep her young. Christa Bella's ability to show the mixture of the royal air of nobility and the glint of evil in her eyes are demonstrated beautifully throughout the piece. The horror of her character comes when she is seen bathing (no nudity) in the blood of innocent maidens which numbered as many as 600 to 700 during her reign of terror. Her final scene shows Christa Bella's Countess scared and crying for help (well done), because she would not be killed for her deeds but was locked away in a room of her castle. Christa Bella is skilled and talented.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Absolute hogwash.

1/10
Author: C M from United States
29 November 2008

I can't believe someone actually paid money to document the history of nonexistent creatures. It's almost as if the producers actually *believed* in the existence of vampires and were trying to prove it with this lame excuse for a documentary. How anyone can still believe in the supernatural in this day and age is beyond me.

It was worth watching up until the point where they started interviewing "modern vampire" cults, a pseudo subculture influenced by Hollywood movies and Anne Rice novels. I suppose this group of overgrown goth kids represent a part of vampire "history", however I found it to be more sad than interesting to watch them truly believing themselves to be vampires.

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