La Ceremonia Sangrienta (1972)

Genres - Horror  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - Italy, Spain  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This bloody Spanish horror film mines the same vein (no pun intended) as Hammer's Countess Dracula (even released the same year), taking as its source the allegedly true tale of the Hungarian Countess Bathory -- who believed she could maintain eternal youth by routinely bathing in the blood of slain virgins. In an attempt to seduce and marry a charming young soldier, she is compelled to murder young maids again and again, while masquerading as her own teenage daughter. Unfortunately, she finds that she needs more frequent applications of this ghastly beauty treatment in order to prevent herself from transforming into a withered old hag -- naturally, both her plans and her body end up falling to pieces. Written and directed by Jorge Grau, who would later find more success with the equally-imitative but genuinely eerie zombie-fest Don't Open the Window.

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Keywords

Elizabeth Bathory, aristocracy, blood, immortality, murder, purity, legend [fable]