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Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula
Dark Prince: Legend of Dracula

USA 2000
produced by
Avram 'Butch' Kaplan, Donald Kushner (executive), Peter Locke (executive), Vlad Paunescu (executive) for the Kushner-Locke Company
directed by Joe Chapelle
starring Rudolf Martin, Jane March, Christopher Brand, Peter Weller, Roger Daltrey, Michael Sutton, Razvan Vasilescu, Claudiu Bleont, Claudiu Trandafir, Victor Ungureanu, Dan Badarau

Dracula

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
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.

Vlad & his brother Radu (Michael Sutton) were taken prisoner, & while Vlad was to endure many a tortures, young Radu would become the sultan's you-know-what.

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 his aura.

Rather a pity that this opportunity was quite so wasted ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD