Blood Ceremony (1973)

Also known as The Legend of Blood CastleThe Female ButcherThe Bloody Countess and Ceremonia Sangrienta, this Jorge Grau-directed (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) Eurohorror film is a real classic that’s finally getting a great release thanks to Mondo Macabro.

The people of 19th century Europe aren’t ready to let go of their fear of vampires just yet, so they head out into the night and conduct trials over the graves over those who have recently died and are rumored to the undead.

As for Countess Erzebeth Bathory (Lucia Bosè, Fellini’s Satyricon), all she cares about is her quickly fading beauty and her husband’s lack of attention. But there are methods to bring her looks back and him back to bed which involve the dark practices of the ancestor she shares a name with. Blood is the secret and shockingly, her husband is only too willing to get it for her.

Where you’d expect a film awash in blood and gore, this is a movie more about how women deal with aging and men that only see beauty in youth. And yes, there’s still plenty of bloodbathing along the way.

Ewa Aulin (CandyDeath Laid an Egg) is also in this. Sadly, Aulin didn’t enjoy acting and was done by the age of 23.

So many versions of this film were released in the U.S. in PG form. The Mondo Macabro release has the fully uncut International and alternate Spanish cuts of the film, along with interviews with the director and two commentary tracks (Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson; Robert Monell and Rod Barnett).

This is yet another must-have for your horror collection. I wish Grau had made more films in the genre, if only because his movies end up having so many alternate titles.

You can get this from Diabolik DVD.

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