Eli Cross Talks <i>The Blood of Virgins</i>

CHATSWORTH, Calif. - Director Eli Cross is preparing to shoot his next big-budget feature for SexZ Pictures, a porn-horror movie inspired by the story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

Heading off Thursday morning to Budapest to scout locations for the production, Cross plans to begin shooting in March, with release slated for mid-September.

"It's called The Blood of Virgins," Cross told AVN. "[It] is about a young girl who discovers that she is the direct-line descendent of Elizabeth Báthory, who was the first female mass murderer in history. Elizabeth was a 16th century Moldavian countess who ran a school for young girls from the aristocracy, and she systematically murdered over 600 of them. And one telling of the story has her bathing in the blood of young girls because she was convinced that it would keep her eternally young."

The Blood of Virgins promises to be an extravagant affair in terms of art direction, divided between medieval and modern-day settings. Casting remains to be locked into place, with one exception: Sandra Romain has signed on to play Báthory.

"It's gonna be another warm, friendly, happy feature with lots of fisting and pissing and bondage and literally buckets of blood this time," Cross joked. "So another show with no aspirations whatsoever."

Bathory has inspired several books and movies, including real-life descendant Andrei Codrescu's novel The Blood Countess and Jorge Grau's 1972 exploitation feature The Female Butcher (aka Blood Ceremony and The Legend of Blood Castle.) Director Eli Roth paid homage to the historical tale in Hostel 2.

Meanwhile, Cross' AVN award-winning sci-fi epic Upload hits HD DVD Feb. 20, marking SexZ's first entry in the format. Said Cross, "The thing that's sort of unique about it - and actually, it's even kind of unique for mainstream - is everything is in HD. Even the extras. Which is not normally the case; generally, your extras are all standard definition, and then your movie is high-def.

"We will be doing a Blu-ray release, we just haven't set the date yet," Cross added.

For more on Upload, go to www.sexzupload.com. For more on SexZ Pictures, go to www.sexz.com.