INT. DINING HALL - NIGHT
Mira and the wolf enter. Bathory waits, sitting at the end of the table, his feet up on the tablecloth. Ana stands behind him, watches Mira with dead eyes. Next to her - SAMUEL. Thinner, face sallow and pained. His eyes track Mira.
Darling! You look beautiful.
You said you were going to let Samuel go.
I said I would release him from the dungeon.
I believe I’ll keep him around -
to remind you to stay obedient.
No real surprise - Mira is beyond that now. She just smiles back, then lifts the silver cover from her dinner plate. The food is ROTTEN. Mira pulls back slightly at the smell of it.
What is this?
It’s the same as what you’ve always eaten here.
Nothing’s changed, Mira. Maybe at last you’re
just seeing things as they really are.
Mira looks to the end of the table. In the Count’s place sits an ANCIENT CREATURE, something older than even the castle. Its skin is cracked rather than wrinkled, old dead blood dried and caked in the seams of its wretched face.
Its eyes are red, and a serpentine tongue flicks out over its lips. With long, yellowed fingernails, it lifts a bite of rotten food to its mouth. Mira can see the maggots crawling.
Won’t you eat, Mira?
Laughter from the end of the table. Mira BLINKS - the Count appears a handsome middle-aged man again, though everything else is still ruined, decrepit.
Delicious, isn’t it?
How long did you wait before you showed all of
this to Ilka? How long did you wait
before you drove her mad?
I waited until she allowed that priest to
perform his magic on her. I waited until she
allowed my sons to die.
Why? Why are you doing this?
No. No, please, no!
Don’t hurt him, please. I was the one who
asked him to cross the river. I was
disobedient. Punish me.
I don’t know why. Every day is the same, day
after day after day. Nothing is real any more.
I used to be a good man.
You can still be a good man. Let us go.
You said once that you cared for
these lands. Was that a lie?
No. It wasn’t a lie.
We could help you.
Won’t you come pray with me? I’ve always
found great strength in turning to the Lord.
Mira looks steadily at Bathory, guileless. He joins her.
There is no god.
Then pray to the stones of this castle, the
sun and moon, the hills, who know all our secrets.
To anoint yourself with oil is to
rededicate your life. Give each day purpose.
My mother taught me that. You would
have liked her - had you ever met her.
Will you dedicate yourself? Will you help us?
Will you be the Count in deed, not just in name?
Will you give me back my son?
In one smooth movement, Mira rips the vial away, leaps back.
The ancient creature is revealed again, FANGS bared - the only teeth in its mouth. It lunges at Mira - but she holds the candelabra out. It CATCHES ON FIRE.
A SCREAM, a sound no mortal voice could make. Mira claps her hands over her ears, ducks away. So she doesn’t see the wolf jump...
It KNOCKS her down and clamps its jaws shut on her arm. The vial of blood rolls away. Mira shrieks, bats at the wolf’s head. It SHAKES her arm.
Samuel grabs the knife. Ana attacks him, howling. Samuel stabs her, again and again. Finally pushes her away.
Bathory is now a PILLAR of fire.
Mira fights the wolf, losing strength. A silver platters comes down on its head from above - Samuel. Stunned, the wolf releases her arm. Samuel STABS the wolf in the side. Mira scurries out from underneath it.
The Count turns. His eyes are gone - flames dance merrily away in his empty eye sockets. His skin begins to darken, shrivel. He croaks out something that might be her name.
Mira kicks herself back, away from him, injured arm held to her chest. Then she sees the vial - under the table, just a few inches from Bathory’s feet. Beat. Mira rolls over, CRAWLS for it. She picks it up.
Not fast enough.
Bathory manages to grab her arm and YANK her up to her feet. The sleeve of her dress catches on fire. She doesn’t notice - she stares at him.
Bathory GRINS, the flesh cracking and falling away as his face tries to move. He tightens his grip on Mira’s injured arm - a SNAP as a bone breaks.
(voice low, demonic)
You pathetic child. I was old when the Crusaders
reclaimed the Holy Land. Mighty kings have
fallen over the centuries, yet I have always
remained. And you think you can harm me?
You will never be free of me. You
will belong to me until the end of time.
Samuel grabs the candelabra from the table and BURIES it in the Count’s back, like a pitchfork. The metal seems to find no resistance.
The walls and tabletop BURST into flame. Bathory falls to the floor. A few spastic jerks of his body, and then he is STILL.
Beat. Mira and Samuel stare, unaware of the fire all around them. Then the Count’s wineglass SHATTERS from the heat.
Mira! We have to get out!
Help me. Please.
Leave her - she’s a monster.
INT. CORRIDORS - NIGHT
Drops of blood hit the floor in a steady rhythm. They fall from Mira’s arm - bitten, broken. They fall from Samuel’s arm - hand gone. They fall from Ana - mortally wounded.
The castle now looks just like the east tower and the dining room - abandoned, filthy, decrepit.
The three struggle to keep going, down the dark halls.
Burnt and blackened. A few dying flames here and there. Bathory lies just where Mira left him. Empty eye sockets stare sightlessly at the ceiling.
A whimper. The WOLF lies on its side a few feet away, bleeding sluggishly from Samuel’s stab wound. It whimpers again as it moves its front paws.
A determined growl, and the wolf rolls over onto its belly. Slowly, it struggles forward, dragging itself and leaving a broad red smear to mark its path. Louder whines and whimpers.
One final burst of energy as the wolf pulls itself up, standing. It staggers forward a few steps, and finally COLLAPSES on the Count’s chest.
One long last exhalation, and the wolf’s eyes go dull.
Blood seeps from its wound. Soaks into the Count’s clothes. Puddles on his chest. Trickles down his face to his lips.
Skeletal fingers twitch.
Mira now practically carries Ana, the girl’s feet dragging on the floor. Finally, they stumble. Ana falls.
Samuel, we have to stop the bleeding.
Where’s Ilka? Where--
She’s safe. Locked up in her room.
Tell her I’m sorry. Tell her--
Mira turns her head. Erzsebet stands behind her, looking down at Ana. Bewilderment and sadness on her face.
Is she asleep?
Mira. Get up.
We can’t leave her here.
She’s dead. There’s nothing else we can do.
A hand - not so skeletal anymore - grips the edge of the table. Bathory pulls himself upright. Parts of his face are fully healed. Other parts aren’t - white cheekbone pokes through a patch of burned, blackened flesh. One eye is whole, the other is still missing.
The Count looks at the entrance. He sneers.
And what do you think you’re doing here?
Get out of my way.
(too tired to laugh)
You horrible brat, she will want
nothing to do with you.
Bathory walks out.
INT. CORRIDORS - NIGHT
Mira and Samuel hurry as best they can. They turn a corner - more of the same stretching ahead of them.
I thought you knew the way out.
This is supposed to be the Great Hall.
We have to get out!
There’s something wrong with me. I feel it inside...
We killed him!
He can’t be killed, only destroyed. Hurry!
We have to get to the chapel.
And Bathory is right behind them. He stops at the entrance, as though he’s hit a wall. He screams in frustration - a nightmare.
Give her to me!
I have it.
Oh, Mira. Thank you.
Do as I tell you, Briccius!
Give her to me!
It’s all right. He can’t enter. Father
Janos put crosses around the doors.
Father Janos! Crosses!
Don’t think you can defy me, Briccius.
Why does he call you that?
Because it is my name.
Look what he has done. My sons! My own flesh
and blood! He uses them against me, to keep me out.
He murdered my sons!
Wouldn’t you have killed them, if you’d had
the chance? Their bodies kept this place safe from him.
And shouldn’t I have had a place just for my
own? Especially since the whole castle was
given to me, because of my victories? And I would have
shared it with you, Uncle! I would have shared
it with you willingly, if you had only asked!
The victories were mine! You were
just a child. My money paid for your
mercenaries. The castle and land should
have been given to me!
What will you do now, Hados?
What I should have done centuries ago.
You forget, Uncle. You no longer wear
my blood around your neck.
Mira sees the statues watching the two men, their faces twisted with savage glee.
Bathory’s struggle ends. He hangs limp in Janos’s grasp. His skin is sucked tight to his bones, as though he were being mummified. Janos lets him drop - Bathory’s body TURNS TO DUST when it hits the floor.
Janos licks the blood still on his lips, now ruddy. No longer gaunt - his face is full, almost fat. He sighs.
Nine hundred years I’ve waited.
Nine hundred years you villagers have been able to
hide behind Bathory, persist in your superstitious
blasphemy. No more. Now you will all truly know
the wrath of God. And you, Mira, will be first.
He killed me down in that dungeon. This is Hell.