We all know the tales of the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory. Known as the most prolific female serial killer in the world, she was rumored to have murdered up to 650 victims, with the vast majority of them being young virginal women. The tales of her bathing in the blood of virgin women in order to maintain her youth have been rumored to have inspired Bram Stoker in his creation of the fictional vampire Dracula. However, each interpretation of Bathory is different and Amazon’s LORE seeks to show us a slightly different iteration in its episode.
In this particular episode, we are introduced to Elizabeth Bathory right around the time before she was discovered as a murderess. We see the arrival of a young noblewoman to the great castle and it becomes obvious that she has been lured here for nefarious purposes. Even though we know in the back of our minds that things will not turn out well for the young girl, we are offered a glimmer of hope when Bathory shares the story of her husband.
However, the girl seals her fate when she comments on the Countess’s age, a taboo worthy of death in her home. The episode does not end on a down note. Unlike the majority of LORE episodes, we see that the Countess gets her just desserts when her crimes are discovered. To see her beauty crumble and fade after years of imprisonment feels like poetic justice, but also a sad end for a woman so incredibly vain.
What really makes this episode standout compared to ‘Burke and Hare: In the Name of Science’ is the usage of animation to paint us a tale of a woman who was deeply in love with her husband. One thing that was missing during the first season of Amazon’s LORE was the promised animation that many of us were hoping for. This animation helps to create a break for the viewer away from the reenactment and gives us a deeper insight into the history of the Countess in a way that keeps us drawn to the scene.
The other component of this episode that makes it standout is how we are unable to hide from sadism of the Countess. We see evidence of her cruelty and her obsession with blood all throughout the course of the episode. The blood is associated with vitality and, as we find out later in the episode, the more frightened a victim is before the blood is drawn from the body, the more effective it is for Bathory’s skin. This leads to a couple of moments in the episode where we are shown the very cruel methods the Countess employs to maintain her supply of youth giving blood.
All in all, I felt that this episode of Amazon’s LORE was stronger and more reminiscent of what many of us fans might have come to expect with an adaptation of the series. We are delivered another fine example of a figure who has grown exponentially due to the nature of folklore. Amazon’s LORE succeeds to make Bathory human by showcasing both the lover and the sadist through the usage of animation, displays of calculated violence, and well directed sequences. Some might disagree, but I think this iteration of Bathory is fairly well done.
All six episodes of Amazon’s LORE will be released on October 19th.