Guinness World Records lists her as the most prolific female murderer, but it’s just as likely that the allegations against her were invented to take away her land and wealth. Mysteries swirl around Erzsébet Báthory aka Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (August 7, 1560 – August 21, 1614). She was born into an aristocratic Hungarian family, married a local nobleman, and had five children. After nearly 30 years of marriage, her husband died, and around this time, rumors arose connecting Erzsébet to unexplained deaths. Eventually, the magnate who Báthory’s husband had left in charge of his family and financial matters would investigate and arrest Erzsébet. She was accused of torturing and killing many young servant girls, and she was imprisoned in her castle of Csejte for the final years of her life.
While the truth of what happened is highly debatable, the bits and pieces of her story have been source material for a ton of cheesy horror flicks. I’m not going to dignify the more salacious ones or the endless “descendant of Erzsébet Báthory who likes to bathe in blood” tropes. I do want to look at the on-screen versions showing a bit of her life because she’s a fascinating woman — Halloween time or any time!
Ingrid Pitt in Countess Dracula (1971)
Lucia Bosé in The Legend of Blood Castle aka Ceremonia sangrienta (1973)
Julia Saly in Night of the Werewolf aka El retorno del Hombre Lobo (1981)
Anna Friel in Bathory: Countess of Blood (2008)
Julie Delpy in The Countess (2009)
Svetlana Khodchenkova in The Blood Queen aka The Lady of Csejte (2015)
What’s your favorite on-screen version of Erzsébet Báthory?