In the film Countess Dracula the main character, Countess Elizabeth falls into a lustful obsession with young Master Fabio whom she sees at her husbands funeral. He is bequeathed with all of the horses and stables in the will. Countess Elizabeth undoubtedly becomes crazier in time as soon as she realizes that the blood of young virgin girls can make her appear young again. In her psychotic scheme to win over the love of Master Fabio, many girls are killed and Countess Elizabeth uses the identity of her daughter Ilona (who has been kidnapped to keep her away from Fabio). Aside from the disturbing events that ascend from this film, scapegoating is a major theme that continues to emit from the plot. Countess Elizabeth is the object of scapegoating in this story, although she isn’t a vampire, she is a psychological vampire who literally drains the blood out of girls and bathes in it to make her skin appear younger. Countess Elizabeth tries to use her sorrow of never loving and of her unsatisfying relationships with her late husband and her other lover to excuse her actions. Narcissistic and egotistical as she is, she does not comprehend her faults or flaws, her deepest concern is superficial. Countess Elizabeth is a precise example of someone who is seeking is escape from her past and present feelings that she feels are confining her. She sends her daughter Ilona away at six years old and that the audience understands that this is out of her own envy for her daughters youth.
The film is based on the historical background of Elizabeth Bathory, born in Transylvania in 1560. Bathory was so cruel that she tortured young innocent girls in a chamber in a castle, bit them and did many terrible deeds to them. Her actions got worse when her husband died and Bathory’s secrets were not uncovered until 1610. The film Countess Dracula accounts for this horrific historical events. As for the theme of scapegoating, there is much to analyze in terms of Elizabeth’s actions and belief that blood kept her young. She was trying to escape from growing old, to an extent she was always jealous of her daughter in that sense. On the other hand, there is an overwhelming amount of sexual conduct and tension that ties into Countess Elizabeth’s need to stay young and satisfied. In the article Victorian Sexualities by Holly Furneaux, young women during the Victorian age are examined based on their sexuality, during the time sex was a male activity that women were not supposed to be as acquainted with. However, Furneaux explains that sexual feelings were common among ladies during the period, using Queen Victoria as an example. On the other hand, women’s sexuality was to be on existent even after she was married and had children, she was to uphold herself and retain her “chastity”, Furneaux goes on to discuss this topic by noting, “in her purity and capacity for ‘sweet ordering’, as the influential Victorian critic and essayist John Ruskin memorably put it, the angel in the house was to sanctify the home as a refuge for her menfolk from the trouble of public life” (Furneaux). In connection to Countess Dracula and the sexual actions of Countess Elizabeth, the audience comes to see Elizabeth as a lustful woman who is mainly obsesses with youth. For her, youth represents a new beginning and freedom, something that she also desires. Elizabeth is constantly seeking to take the desire she wants by having sexual relations with Master Fabio and ultimately she forces him into marrying her, that is until she turns into an old woman at the alter and rushes to go kill her daughter to become young and ends up killing Fabio instead. Countess Elizabeth experienced the type of life that Furneaux discusses regarding women’s chastity as a wife and mother, she probably felt confined in some way to her role and became obsessed with youth because of it.
Countess Dracula. Director. Peter Sasdy. 1972. Film.
"Victorian sexualities." The British Library. The British Library, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 02 May 2017
Bathory’s Torturous Escapades Are Exposed." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 03 May 2017.
Burton, Neel. "The Psychology of Scapegoating." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 21 Dec. 2013. Web. 02 May 2017.
Orloff, Judith. "5 Types of Emotional Vampires." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 02 May 2017.