Supernatural: Season 1, Episode 2

Countess Ilona (18 Jun. 1977)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror
8.0
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The Countess Ilona has invited four gentlemen to her castle. Distracted by her beauty, they do not expect the punishment she ha planned for them.

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Title: Countess Ilona (18 Jun 1977)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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John Fraser ...
Hugo Hoffman
Charles Kay ...
Sandor Elès ...
Charles Keating ...
Amanda Boxer ...
Molly Veness ...
John Stuart ...
Mr. Pettifer
Stefan Gates ...
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The Countess Ilona has invited four gentlemen to her castle. Distracted by her beauty, they do not expect the punishment she ha planned for them.

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Horror

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18 June 1977 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Hugo Hoffman: But... there is no such thing as a werewolf!
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The Club of the Damned welcomes its second guest
24 April 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

The Countess Ilona (Billie Whitelaw)was in her youth a woman much adored and sought after, she was a café entertainer and courtesan in Budapest, who would have struggled to get by, were it not for her gentleman callers from the highest reaches of Hapsburg society. These men it is fair to say took advantage of her situation to sate their own wanton lust. Ten years on and the Countess is living in a remote castle in Transylvania, surrounded by thick forest that for the most part even blocks out the sunlight during the day. She is now a widow, Count Tyrrh, her brute of a husband having been killed in a hunting accident on their wedding anniversary, leaving her with but one young child, Bela. And so it is that the Countess sent out invitations to four noblemen to attend her home on the 10th anniversary of her wedding, but the invitations bore little or no indication of what the occasion was or what was in store for those attending. First guest to arrive was the boisterous Zoltan Vinzenz (Ian Hendry) a Prussian revolutionary, who spent time in jail for his crimes, but one who always seemed to pick the right side. Since his release he had become a very rich and renowned arms dealer and a politician of note. The second guest is Dr Felix Krauss (Charles Kay), a specialist in rare diseases, now retired, he spends his time womanising and is a self proclaimed "Erotomane". The third guest is Hugo Hoffman (John Fraser) a renowned composer and piano virtuoso who it would seem has lost his gift and now lives on his laurels, he's a finicky sort who makes impossible demands on those he encounters. Castle Tyrrh is an imposing building, creepy at night and unsettling in the constant twilight of day. Its in the marble floored grand hall that the three guests sit down to dine at a luxurious buffet laid on for them by their curiously absent host. They immediately begin some boisterous discussions on Ilona's "Beast" of a husband, not least the possibility that he was a lycanthrope. They also discuss what the purpose of their visit could possibly be, for you see they are all former lovers of the Countess, countless theories abound and they agree to question their host when she turns up. Where is the fourth guest, well he's been delayed, his identity still unknown. The three men make themselves at home immediately, Zoltan, tucks into the wine and fine caviar and cheekily asks for more, Felix makes plain his needs as an Erotmane and makes his lustful advances on the maid Magda. Finicky Hugo irks the servants with outlandish requests. Upstairs preparing herself, Ilona tells her maid Magda, that the fourth guest will not come tonight as night has fallen, she tells her to "lock your door this night and what you see, you have not seen and whatever you hear, is but the wind.". Outside the woods are filled with a thick impenetrable mist, there unseen, something lurks, breathing heavily and circling the castle. The Countess makes her grand entrance and the revelry begins, they laugh and joke about the old days and the shameless summer they all shared ten years previous. The questions come thick and fast to Ilona, on the question of her husbands notoriety and beastliness, she replies he was much worse than his reputation. During dinner the demure Bela is introduced, it is then that Ilona drops the bombshell, that he may not be the Count's son and that one of the three present might be the father? Ilona retires to bed and leaves the trio to mull over the possibility, none of them can deny there is that possibility. The next morning Felix and Zoltan discover the badly savaged body of Hugo, again they discuss Felix's Lycanthrophy theory, they debunk the possibility of a werewolf but could a man with this affliction cause such damage to another man? The fourth guest arrives (Edward Hardwicke), he is the most esteemed of Ilona's guests for he is none other than the leader of the opposition, another politician of renown who shall we say preaches one thing while doing another. He is shocked by the goings on and immediately sets about solving the matter, but his request for the police to come or for that matter, a carriage, are laughed off by head servant Andras who says they will not come to Castle Tyrrh. The fourth guest is also killed that night, Felix and Zoltan make every effort to leave but its not as easy as they might think. Some childhood horror experiences when revisited and reviewed are a huge disappointment, this Gothic tale a two parter from the Supernatural TV series though is certainly not. The characters are given oodles of time to develop, Robert Muller's sparkling and witty dialogue is also intelligent and addresses some interesting topics of the time, politics, social commentary and sex. The build up is slow but riveting, despite the fact there is seemingly so little happening on screen, there is in fact loads going on. The performances from all are powerful and succinctly well executed, Hendry in particular is a pleasure to watch. The atmosphere is aided immeasurably by the creepy locations, the fog filled forests and the use of light and shade. Werewolf films usually falter on the believability of the werewolf, here though, I'm pretty sure because of financial restraints, the monster is not shown, we just see his shadow and his lurking point of view and hear his heavy disturbing breathing, as such you might say, well that's a bit of a con, but its not, everything is left to the imagination like all the best Ghost Stories and the film is all the better for it. This is low budget stuff, but it knocks the big budget werewolf films for six, the twist at the end is excellent and looses none of its charm even after many viewings.


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