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The Legend of Blood Castle (1973)

Ceremonia sangrienta (original title)
R | | Horror | 5 June 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 »

Director:

Jorge Grau

Writers:

Jorge Grau (story), Jorge Grau (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucia Bosé ... Erzebeth Bathory
Espartaco Santoni Espartaco Santoni ... Karl Ziemmer
Ewa Aulin ... Marina
Ana Farra Ana Farra ... Nodriza
Silvano Tranquilli ... Médico
Lola Gaos ... Carmilla
Enrique Vivó Enrique Vivó ... Alcalde
María Vico María Vico ... Maria Plojovitz
Ángel Menéndez Ángel Menéndez ... Magistrado
Adolfo Thous Adolfo Thous ... Juez
Ismael García Romen Ismael García Romen ... Capitán (as Ismael García-Romeu)
Raquel Ortuño Raquel Ortuño ... Irina
Loreta Tovar Loreta Tovar ... Sandra (as Dolores Tovar)
Franca Grey Franca Grey ... Nadja
Ghika Ghika ... Inge
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Pray to God It's Not True! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Spain | Italy

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

5 June 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Female Butcher See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

X Films, Luis Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 62852 delivered on 28-7-1973. See more »

Alternate Versions

For the Spanish version the nude scenes were re-shot with the women completely dressed. See more »

Connections

Version of Countess Dracula (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Best and Most Faithful Adaptation of the Barthory Legend
28 March 2006 | by lazarilloSee all my reviews

Jorge Grau's "Blood Ceremony" is probably the best and most faithful adaptation of the story of Elizabeth Barthory, the real life Hungarian countess who bathed in the blood of virgins to keep herself young. (The "Barthory" section in Walerian Borozyx's "Immortal Tales" may be technically better, but Grau is more interested in actually re-telling than the legend here than in seeing how many naked, barely-legal French girls he can squeeze into the frame).

Grau does make some interesting alterations to the legend. The countess is helped by her husband who fakes his own death and pretends to be a vampire to fool the superstitious villagers about the source of the exsanguinations. Barthory (Lucia Bose) is also a surprisingly sympathetic character who is only driven to her crimes by mortal despair and the beguilings of her old crone maid. Grau also doesn't make the same mistake as Hammer's "Countess Dracula" where Ingrid Pitt bathes in virgin blood and is instantly transformed from a withered, old hag into. . . well, Ingrid Pitt. It's left much more ambiguous here whether the treatment actually works--it only seems to transform Bose from an attractive older women to a perhaps slightly younger-looking older woman. This is much more effective and chilling than the Hammer histrionics.

The highlight of any of these films is, of course, when the character actually takes a literal bloodbath. This scene perhaps isn't as "hot" here as Ingrid Pitt's in "Countess Dracula" or Rosalba Neri's in the non-sensical "Devil's Wedding Night", but it's much more effective cinemagraphically following a stream of blood from an unlucky virgin whose throat has just been slit through a drain in the floor to a shower where Bose is waiting naked below.

Besides Bose, the cast also includes Swedish nymphet Ewa Aulin as the gold-digging daughter of the local innkeeper who shares her sexual favors with the count. It's not clear for awhile whether he's going to run off with her or make her another sacrifice to his wife's bloodthirsty vanity. Aulin is a little miscast here and personally I prefer her undubbed (and unclothed), but I guess her natural Swedish accent wouldn't have really worked in Medieval Hungary. The more unknown Spanish actors who play the rest of the villagers are good too. They turn out to be very vindictive and they take a terrible revenge on Barthory at the end (no doubt partially inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat") that almost makes you feel sorry for her. This is a very good movie and one worthy of a resurrection on DVD.


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