Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Michael Praed as ‘Max Schreck’, Son of Darkness: To Die For II (1991)

Your Daily Dracula – Michael Praed as ‘Max Schreck’, Son of Darkness: To Die For II (1991)

Deran Serafian’s To Die For (1988) must have made some ripples to earn this sequel, which is another midlist video era horror/soap.  That said, vampire movies have a tendency to yield throwaway follow-ups, as witness the Subspecies/Vampire Journals series or the direct-to-non-theatrical follow-ups to The Lost Boys or 30 Days of Night.  Count Yorga – Vampire, Blacula, Fright Night and Graveyard Shift got sequels too – and Nick Knight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer spun off TV series.  Still, it feels odd that the supporting cast of To Die For were back three years later in a continuation of the story, with original screenwriter Leslie King presuming audience familiarity with the characters and situations if a slight fuzziness about who died at the end of the last film.

What we see on screen and what we’re told about by now-committed vampire hunter Martin (Scott Jacoby) are different, but somehow the burned-by-daylight remains of Vlad Tepish/Dracula (bland Brandon Walsh in To Die For) are reconstituted into a more charismatic British-accented leading vampire.  This Vlad (Michael Praed) takes a job on the night shift in an ER in the California resort town of Lake Serenity and goes by the nudge-nudge name of ‘Dr Max Schreck’.  In his wake come other vampires we saw destroyed.  Complete asshole Tom (Steve Bond) is still chomping a cigar and sporting dark glasses but now claims to be Dracula’s brother, while cast-off vamps Jane (Remy O’Neill) and Cellia (Amanda Wyss) prey on barroom drunks.  Vlad has chosen this town because his half-human baby son by the absent heroine of the last film has been adopted by local Nina (Rosalind Allen), whom he romances in Harlequin style with intense conversation by an open fire, floppy shirts often ripped off in passion, and moonlit horseback rides.  Any long-term plans he has made are spoiled by Tom’s continuing assholery – which includes chasing Nina all over a boat yard while cackling.

The earlier film was set in Los Angeles and featured expensive monster effects – here, the locale is more confined and the effects skimpier.  Vlad turns into a wolf at one point to let his hunter’s instincts take over, but the throat-ripping gore and the vampire disintegrations are less elaborate.  Former child star Jacoby (Bad Ronald) is joined by Jay Underwood (The Boy Who Could Fly), while Vince Edwards is the usual baffled local cop and Devin Corrie Sims gets an special ‘and introducing’ credit for playing the baby.  Director David Price went on to a Children of the Corn sequel and Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde.


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