Contes immoraux
a.k.a. Immoral Tales


European 1970s/1980s

(France, 1974)

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Review this movieActresses appearing
in lesbian scenes:

Paloma Picasso, Pascale Christophe &
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Contes immoraux tells four different tales about female characters, two fictional and two historical. The historical characters, Erzsébet Báthory and Lucrezia Borgia, are two of history's most infamous women. The episode of interest here is the one about Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1614), the real-life Transylvanian Countess who bathed in the blood of more than 650 virgins in an attempt to stay young. Erzsébet Báthory has been the inspiration for many lesbian vampire movies.

First I want to mention something about the real-life Erzsébet Báthory. She was only 15 when she was married off for political gain and position to an aristocrat. This marriage made her the lady of the Castle of Csejthe, situated deep in the Carpathian mountains. The castle (or what is left of it) still stands there.

(click on the thumbnails)

The ruins of Castle Csejthe Painting of Erzsébet Báthory
at the age of 25
The ruins of Castle Csejthe

Erzsébet's husband, who she had no feelings for, was often away on long journeys, and Erzsébet had the castle all to herself. Life became boring in very short order for her. Being an energetic teenager, she set about finding amusements to occupy her days. She welcomed people of questionable character to live in the caste. Among them were those who claimed to be witches, sorcerers, seers and alchemists.

Erzsébet Báthory was renowned for her beauty in her younger years, but by the time she had become 43 years old, and her husband died, there were obviously some signs of aging. She didn't like her reflection in the mirror, and her mood deteriorated rapidly. She had this idea that she could preserve her youth by rubbing in the blood of young virgins onto her skin. She asked her alchemists about their opinion, and they of course agreed with her theory.

Erzsébet reasoned that if a little was good, then a lot would be better. She firmly believed that if she bathed in the blood of young virgins, and in the case of especially pretty ones, drank their blood, she would be eternally beautiful.
For years, Erzsébet's trusted friend, and many believe lover as well, had been Dorotta Szentes. Now with her help, Erzsébet roamed the countryside by night, hunting for suitable virginal girls.

In the first five years, they only took peasant girls to the castle, but when Erzsébet realized that their blood had no effect on her aging, she decided she must have "better" blood. She established an academy in the castle, offering to take 25 girls at a time from noble families, and to correctly finish their educations, but they of course ended up the same way as the other girls.

When merely peasant girls disappeared, no one cared, but now when daughters to nobles had begun to disappear, news of it reached the Hungarian Emperor, and he immediately ordered that the Countess be placed on public trial. Dorotta Szentes was burned alive at the stake, but the Countess, by reason of her noble birth, could not be executed. She lived her last years alone sealed into her castle and never again let out..

In Contes immoraux, we first see Erzsébet and Dorotta (called Istvan in this movie) riding into a village. There they choose a number of suitable girls, and then bring them up to the castle. Once there, the girls take a shower. and then a weird scene follows where Erzsébet has gathered all the peasant girls in her bedroom, and they're allowed to take whatever jewelry and clothing she's wearing. The girls, who are very poor, are of course excited and they proceed to rip off everything. Meanwhile, Erzsébet just lies there with an extatic face expression. Near the end of the episode, Erzsébet and Dorotta can be seen marrying each other, and then laying on Erzsébet's bed caressing each other.

Paloma Picasso, who plays Erzsébet Báthory, is Pablo Picasso's daughter, and this is her only film role.