leave a comment --Judy McGuire
If you’re looking for blood-sucking creatures of the night, this picture isn’t for you. Instead of rehashing creepy crawly vampire cliches, it attempts to bring to life the historical figure on whom Bram Stoker based his famous monster. The story begins as Vlad Tepes (convincingly played by one-time soap hunk Rudolf Martin) Vlad the Impaler, as he was later known explaining his life’s choices to a board of Greek Orthodox priests, who are deciding whether or not to excommunicate him. In flashback, we see this prince of Romania’s attempt to rescue his homeland from the Muslim Turks. As youths, he and his brother are kidnapped by the Turks, and while in captivity they learn their father has been murdered. Young Vlad is released, while his younger brother Radu (Michael Sutton), remains behind. While soliciting aid from the King of Hungary (Roger Daltrey), Vlad meets Lidia (Jane March), who abandons up her plan to join a nunnery and instead marries him. Vlad takes back the Romanian throne, and restores order to his princedom by murdering all the corrupt noblemen who did in his father. Though his methods are brutal Vlad earns his "impaler" sobriquet an era of peace begins, leading some subjects to regard him as a messiah. But the Greek Orthodox priests, led by Father Stefan (Peter Weller), are convinced that he’s the Anti-Christ because of his expedient alliance with the Roman Catholic Church. When Lidia inadvertently sees some of her husband’s handiwork and realizes the extent of his violent nature, she starts to lose her mind. The combination of above-par acting, interesting storyline, and lovely Eastern European scenery make this USA Network production worth watching.