This made-for-tv-movie chronicles the rise & fall of the real (as in
historic) Vlad Dracula (Rudolf Martin) in 15th century Romania, starting with
his father (Dan Badarau) getting killed by his fellow Romanian noblemen when he
did not want to comply with the wishes of the Sultan (Claudiu Bleont) who was
about to invade Romania, but was granting the noblemen many privileges in
exchange for their cooperation.
Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Vlad & his brother Radu (Michael Sutton) were taken prisoner, &
while Vlad was to endure many a tortures, young Radu would become the sultan's
After years, Vlad is released from imprisonment (on behest of Radu as we
later learn), & only has one thought on his mind, to avenge the murder of
his father, & to avenge himself on the sultan for years of torture ... well
ok, he had 2 thoughts on his mind ... & to free Romania of the Turkish
invaders ... alright, 3 thoughts.
A 4th thought is added when he arrives at the court of Hungarian king Janos
(Roger Daltrey) & meets lovely Lidia (Jane March), daughter of Romanian
nobleman Aron (Razvan Vasilescu), falls in love with her & marries her.
King Janos grants Vlad financial backing to reconquer his father's land, &
he & strongman Bruno (Christopher Brand) - his personal little John - soon
build an army of cutthroats & regain the throne of the Draculas', & to
celebrate that, bvlad uses the contacts of Aron, his father in law, to invite
all of Romania's nobleman ... whom he then stakes as a climax of the evening
(jolly, isn't it ?), in the same night when Lidia bears him a son.
Then he fights & beats the Turkish armies, & on battlefield meets
& captures his own brother Radu ... to learn that he has turned traitor
against his own people. In a moment of weakness, he spares Radu's life, however
has no reservations to stake whoever else he feels to ... & for that he is
hailed by his Romanians.
Then though his father in law has failed to defend his land from the Turks
who are of course reattacking, & for that he is banished by Dracula ...
& when Lidia sneaks ot of Dracula's castle to see her pa one last time, she
is adhorred by the evidence of Dracula's cruelties (including many staked
corpses sput up in the town's square), and she can only just save her father
from being treated equally cruel. When she sees though that Vlad educates his
son (Victor Ungureanu) to be equally cruel, that drives her metaphorically
& literally over the edge as she hurls herself down the castle's walls.
Lidia's father Aron, upon learning that, teams up with vlad's brother Radu
to have his revenge, & the 2 forge papers about a truce between Radu &
Vlad, & an agreement to attack King Janos at an appropriate time ... papers
which Jaons gets just before Vlad arrives at his court ... & of course,
Vlad is immediately thrown into the dungeon for the next 10 years.
Only then has Janos found out the papers were indeed forged & allows
Vlad to retake his throne again, but in Romania Vlad has also to make peace
with the Orthodox church, but too late he learns that Father Stefan (Peter
Weller), the only priest he ever trusted, was behind a conspiracy against him
from the beginning, has killed his father & has now made up an elaborate
plan for Radu to kill him too - which he does.
But Vlad's son & his Little John Bruno force Father Stefan to keep
Vlad's coffin in his own church ... & the very next day Vlad's body is gone
& Father Stefan has died of fear.
An ill-conceived bio-pic of Romania's maybe most controversial national hero
(villain), that as so many bio-pics suffers from the fact that it sticks too
close to the actual history to explore the many ripples of its main character
(& with Vlad Dracula there are many - by god, he was given the name the
Impaler as an honorary title), while the many holes historical writings
inevitably have are filled up with clichéd plottwists & banal dialogue
that could be lifted from a biopic about Henry VIII, Julius Cesar or Jim
Morrison just as well (& wold be equally bad in either of these biopics).
Many of the real life macabre incidents on the other hand are just thrown into
the proceedings at deliberate moments it seems, totally void of any atmosphere
so badly needed, & making Dracula just an anaemic man doesn't add much to
Rather a pity that this opportunity was quite so wasted ...