gothic references - there are elements of the supernatural featured in the story and references to vampires and tarot cards.
There is the element of death and also the link between that and sex. She 'dealt herself a hand of love and death'. Foreshadowing? So we expect there to be a link later on between the two and we know that death happens in the bedroom - further link between sex and death.
Gothic setting - it is 'neglected' and 'derelict and dark', darkness/gothic aspects. Could perhaps relate to the vampire's (female main character) negative feelings towards her house/life/inheritance or Carter's view on the traditional housewife? She hasn't taken very good care of her home? Inverted female role/expectations.
There are religious references and perhaps a corruption of religion. "bridal gown" - relates back to Dracula. An anti-chirst figure wearing a wholly/pure outfit, an outfit associated with the church and christianity etc. - ALSO a bride is supposed to be pure. however the ideas of penetration and the exchange of all the other men's/victims fluids corrupts this idea of purity in association with vampires.
Attraction and revulsion - She is both attractive and grotesque at the same time to the 'soldier'. Page 116, "Her huge dark eyes almost broke his heart with their waif like, lost look; yet he was disturbed, almost repelled, by her extraordinarily fleshy mouth". - Could also link to ideas of fixation on the mouth with Freud.
She has a title rather than a name - 'the countess'. This could be to place a distance between her and her actions which symbolises her distaste and how she hates what she does. (killing -sucking blood) She does not want to be what she has become, she hates her lust for men. What could Carter be saying by this? Women should not lust for men? or they should lust for men and society shouldn't frown upon female sexuality? Equality in sexual rights?
Could also be part of representing her identity in the wider picture, having a name is something only human's possess, therefore could identify her as a vampire or indicate how much the Countess wishes to be human.
Also the status of 'countess' suggests she has been born in to wealth and social hierarchy, much like Dracula, (gothic theme) although she does not seem proud of it as Dracula was in his heritage. Other antagonists enjoy their evil -ness.
There is also a role reversal present. The men are the victims, active female role. However she does not want this role and this power? Carter suggesting women like being passive?