(Fred Gallo, US, 1993)
Theresa Jenning, a beautiful art historian is sent to Transylvania to restore an ancient painting held in a near-deserted monastery. There she is unexpectedly reunited with the mysterious and morose Vlad - whom she had met fleetingly at a party in New York. Theresa and Vlad are attracted to each other but for some reason Vlad seems to avoid her. As her time at the monastery passes, Theresa finds she is inextricably bound to Vlad through a previous life in the 13th Century. It quickly becomes apparent that Vlad is not the harmless, attractive man he appears to be. (Well what did you expect with a name like that!?)
This Roger Corman-produced number seems to have been put together in order to cash in on Bram Stoker's Dracula (it was released a few months before Coppola's film). After a few wince-inducing lines of dialogue, events settle down and the intriguing story begins to unfold. Theresa (Hardware's Stacey Travis) begins to experience visions of her previous life. As the film progresses, these 'flashback' sequences become longer and longer, until more time is spent in the past than in the present.
Shot almost entirely on location (where I do not know) Dracula Rising definately has an East European look to it - more convincing than Coppola's studio-bound extravaganza. The film's denouement is strong and Ed Tomney's terrific soundtrack helps race through the short 77-minute running time, to an inspired but over-ambitious finale. Surprisingly under played, and as much a romantic tale as a horror, there is one horrible witch-burning scene that is as effective as anything seen in Witchfinder General. A Corman 'quickie' that Mr Corman can be proud of.