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Who Is Elizabeth Bathory? The Real-Life Monster Who Inspired Lady Dimitrescu

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

7th Jun 2021 21:45

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We might've put down our stakes and washed the blood off after a visit to Castle Dimitrescu for Resident Evil Village, but it turns out there's still more to the story of Capcom's violent shooter. While the early days of Resident Evil involved blasting zombies in the head and evading the Tyrant monster in the confines of Racoon City, later entries have continued to take the crazy and run with it.

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When it comes to Village, the ninth main entry in the series dished up everything from lake monsters to werewolves, possessed dummies to vampires. Like the cast of a Universal Classic Monsters movie, we were totally here for it.

Looking closer at Village, most of the creepy cast of rogues are conjured up from the minds of the writers, however, a certain Lady Alcina Dimitrescu can find her roots in real life. Art Director Tomonori Takano has already confirmed Lady D is a mix of the Japanese urban legend called Hasshaku-sama, Anjelica Huston's Morticia Addams, and a very famous serial killer.

Sit back and pour yourself a chilled glass of Sanguis Virginis, as we sink our teeth into the story of Elizabeth Bathory. For those who don't know, the towering villainess of Village is based on the Hungarian noblewoman with a penchant for the macabre. 

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Who is Elizabeth Bathory?

If you thought Delphine LaLaurie was a cruel mistress with a taste for blood, that's nothing compared to Bathory. Born into noble stock in 1560, Bathory ruled her family estate with an iron fist. While her husband was away at war, Bathory apparently took control of the estate. Although his name was Count Ferenc II Nádasdy, Bathory's higher social standing meant she kept her maiden name, and he even changed his to Bathory. These days, Elizabeth Bathory is often referred to as The Blood Countess or Countess Dracula, and is said to have been the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula

According to sources, Bathory tried to retain her youth by bathing in the blood of virgin women. The bowels of her home were reportedly found filled with dead or dying women (usaully between the age of 10 and 14), who Bathory and her conspirators would kidnap and torture. It's claimed that girls would attend the castle for etiquette lessons and were then subjected to horrors. Some say they were burned with hot tongs and then dunked in icy water, while others were apparently covered in honey and live ants. Accounts of Bathory bathing in blood come from after her death, so it's unclear whether they were factual or just added to folklore to make her more of a local boogeyman.

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A bloody way to go

Following her arrest and imprisonment in her own home, Elizabeth Bathory died in death 1614 after complaining she'd had cold hands. Since then, she's earned the honour of holding the Guinness World Record holder for "Most prolific female murderer" of all time. Even then, the exact number of people who fell victim to Bathory's wicked ways is unknown. The highest figure was recorded as 650 by her court official after he apparently read it in a private book. Unfortunately, no one has been able to corroborate this. Either way, Elizabeth Bathory's imprisonment came from accounts of over 300 victims and witnesses that could testify to her crimes. 

Even if it all sounds like sunshine and slaughterhouses, Bathory was plagued by genetic defaults and was apparently prone to seizures due to the fact her parents were both closely related, and she was the product of interbreeding. Treatment for epilepsy at the time involved giving the sufferer the blood of someone else, which might've led to Bathory's vampiric tendencies and kickstarted her blood-soaked tirade. Elsewhere, the legitimacy of her legacy remains in dispute. Cynics think Bathory was the victim of a political agenda and was framed for these crimes as a way to seize her considerable estate and power. Either way, it makes for an interesting bedtime story.

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How does Elizabeth Bathory inspire Lady Dimitrescu?

For anyone who has played the Castle section of Resident Evil Village, it won't be hard to spot the similarities between Elizabeth Bathory and Lady Dimitrescu. Although most of us agree our tour of Castle Dimitrescu is far too short, there's just enough time to pick up on Lady D's tragic backstory. In the Resiverse, Lady D was born some time before 1914 and later inherited Castle Dimitrescu as the last of her line. Suffering from the same blood disease as the rest of her lineage, it's thought that this sparked her love of the red stuff. It's easy to pull comparisons between Bathory and her own affliction, but then things go typically Resident Evil

Dimitrescu was lured into a crypt beneath the cemetery and infected with the Cadou parasite. Although it made her seemingly immortal, there were severe side effects, and she mutated into a bloodthirsty beast. Alcina's mutation didn't give Mother Miranda the results she wanted, and with Dimitrescu needing a constant supply of human blood, she was written off as a failure to become one of the Four Lords of the region. 

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Cut from the same cloth

Lady Dimistrescu was known for kidnapping local woman (like Bathory was), and harvested their blood - mixing it with grapes to create her signature vintage. Much like Bathory, Dimitrescu had daughters, although it's unknown if the Village villains were biologically hers. Also, we doubt Bathory's brood were infected with parasites and able to turn into a swarm of flies when they wanted. Admittedly, we also don't think Bathory was infected by Mother Miranda with the Cadou parasite, but you never know. 

Both women have left a bloody trail behind themselves. It's also ironic that Dimitrescu's daughters found themselves confined to Castle Dimitrescu due to their inability to stand the cold, while Bathory spent her final years trapped in her own castle. Both stories are fascinating insights into the darker side of gothic folklore, but just like we'll never get to know the real truth behind Bathory's motives, Lady Dimitrescu was sadly killed off before we got to know much about her. As one of the greatest villains to ever grace Resident Evil, here's hoping Capcom once again opens to doors to Castle Dimitrescu and gives this towering temptress the DLC she deserves. 

 

Images via Capcom | Anonymous Portrait

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We Need To Talk About Esports Players' Mental Health

Quinton Coetzee on Unsplash

Written by 

Mel Ramsay

Posted 

21st Jul 2021 13:55

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