|Ed Tomney||Score Composer|
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This Roger Corman production was undoubtedly conceived to capitalize on the success of Francis Ford Coppola's romantic vampire epic Bram Stoker's Dracula, though the Count himself is not actually a character. The story involves LA artist Theresa (Stacey Travis), who has fallen under the sensual spell of darkly handsome Vlad (Christopher Atkins). Since their first enigmatic meeting, she has been troubled by sexually tinged nightmares involving the mysterious stranger, and she cannot shake the idea that they have met before. Later, while on assignment in Eastern Europe restoring a macabre, Gothic monastery named "The Church of Lost Souls," Theresa encounters Vlad again -- incurring the ire of her Mephistophelean employer Alec (Doug Wert) and leading Theresa to believe that there is also a strange bond between the two men. As her dreams and visions become more disturbing and detailed, she discovers that they are intimations of a former life in which Vlad and Alec were bitter rivals for her affection -- a love which led to her death. With the aid of Vlad's vampire father, the pair became vampires themselves in order to while away the centuries before her soul could return -- which leads to the inevitable climactic confrontation between the two powerful foes in modern times. Deftly lit and photographed, with some effectively surreal dream sequences, this modest production succeeds thanks to a character-based screenplay that never lapses into the usual Cormanesque exploitation formula.
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This film, from filmaker Roger Corman, is one of the better attempts at the Dracula myth to come along in the last several years. While it does lack the visual drive of Bram Stoker's Dracula this film has a tighter screenplay. The viewer really feels that something more than the box office take is at stake by the time of the hero/villan showdown. The film is populated with intelligent and thoughtful characters who behave according to their own logic rather than making giant leaps for the sake of a thrill. All in all a good film worth the effort to find. Four stars for sure.