Countess Bathory

Album: Black Metal (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • Elizabeth Bathory is a very suitable subject for a Black Metal song. The American prostitute Aileen Wournos, who was executed in 2002 and made famous in the film Monster, is sometimes referred to erroneously as the first female serial killer. There have of course been female killers throughout history, but the name of the Blood Countess stands out amongst even the most prolific and depraved.

    The Countess Erzsébet Báthory to give her her proper name was born in 1560; she was a highly intelligent, educated and literate Hungarian noblewoman who lured dozens of young women to their deaths with promises of well paid work as maid servants. Her victims were tortured horribly before being murdered, purely for her gratification.

    At that time the lives of ordinary people counted for little or nothing, and the authorities turned a blind eye to the murders, but eventually the King was forced to intervene after a priest raised the issue at the royal court; the official investigation uncovered a house of horrors, and the widowed countess and her conspirators were arrested but she was spared execution to avoid a scandal; instead she was confined to her castle until her death in 1614. One witness at Elizabeth's trial spoke of as many as 650 victims; the most conservative estimate is 36. Unsurprisingly, Elizabeth has become the stuff of legend; one claim, which may or may not have been true, was that she bathed in the blood of virgins because she believed this would keep her eternally young.
  • The 1971 horror classic Countess Dracula starring Ingrid Pitt is based on Bathory's life; although one reviewer described it as "a fictionalization - and ultimately, a trivialization - of one of history's true fiends," the film sacrifices sensationalism to historical accuracy and is rather watchable. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • In some live performances of the song, bassist Cronos smashes his bass to bits at the end of the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dude - Mexico City, Mexico

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