Author: Tamas Harangi
Writer’s Potential: 8
Logline:A 600-year-old vampire awakens in modern Hungary and hunts down a group of tourists, one of whom is descended from a vampire and a human.
Synopsis:In the fifteenth century, the vampire DOMISCU is betrayed by his colleague GOTHAR. Gothar wants to return to mortal human form (he’s fallen in love with a villager), so he makes a deal with the local priest to turn over Domiscu in exchange for a drink of the true blood of Christ, which will return Gothar to human form. Together, Gothar and the priest trap Domiscu to an eternity in a coffin.
Six hundred years later, Domiscu’s castle is a tourist trap of Avar, Hungary. It becomes the unintentional meeting place of a diverse group of English speakers in their early 20s: some Australian rugby players (PARKER, HARRY, LAKE, BECK, and their leader, NEWTON) on a soul-searching trip through Europe, a pair of American girls (HELENA and her Mormon cousin, SUSAN) out to discover the world around them, and an Englishman (DAVID) who is interested in the vampire lore and the upcoming Renaissance Faire. They all meet each other on their way to the youth hostel in town. Helena is surprised by her immediate attraction to Newton; Susan, meanwhile, finds herself attracted to Beck, while David falls instantly for Susan. The girls decide to accompany David on the historical tour of Castle Avar, and the Aussies instantly decide to go with. They’re led by the native tour guide, MAGDA, who explains the various local legends. They’re taken through a wax museum of historical figures (including Domiscu), a room dedicated to Nazi paraphernalia that represents its time as a German outpost in WWII, and Domiscu’s supposed tomb. Legend has it, the blood of Gothar’s supposed descendent will bring Domiscu back. David’s disappointed because he believes he is the descendent, but Domiscu doesn’t move.
That night, while the whole gang checks out the Renaissance Faire, Domiscu does come back, sucking the blood from a few security guards, which slowly allows him to regain strength. He heads away from the castle and stumbles into the Renaissance Faire, at first thinking very little time has passed but soon realizing — after seeing cell phones ring and people with video cameras — that things are very different indeed. He tracks down a few modern vampires — COLLIN, an American “bad boy” vampire; ANDREA, a redheaded girl; and FREDRICK, a former Nazi — and they worship him and agree to help rebuild Domiscu’s strength. Andrea returns to the Faire and leads the gang to a supposed party thrown in the Castle at night. David doesn’t trust her, thinking vampires still roam about, but everyone ignores him. She immediately leads them to Domiscu, so they start believing David pretty fast.
Shocked that vampires really exist, the gang has a vague plan: run away. They run into Magda, who shows them a lot of underground catacombs that didn’t exist until long after Domiscu was entombed — he wouldn’t know of them. They hide in them and decide to keep moving so the vampires don’t find them. They also try to get some weapons. David tells them the only sure ways to get rid of vampires are to set them on fire or stake them. Magda also informs them that Gothar’s descendent is among them — who it is may be a mystery, but one thing’s guaranteed: he or she will be a virgin, according to the legend. None of the gang want to admit their sexual prowess, but it’s quite clear that the majority of them are virgins — it doesn’t narrow things down at all.
They spend much of their time running from the vampires but inevitably encountering them at some points or another. They end up getting separated: Parker’s by himself, Newton and Helena are together, and the rest of the gang are running. Parker’s nearly killed by Fredrick, while Newton and Helena encounter Collin. Helena manages to decapitate him. His scream causes Fredrick to leave Parker before killing him. Parker lay in the courtyard, bleeding. Domiscu and Andrea also hear the shriek: they know somebody has been decapitated. Andrea realizes this can mean only one thing — the descendent really is among them. An ordinary human wouldn’t have the strength. The killing affects Helena strangely; she vomits constantly, and it eventually turns to dark vampire blood. This is when she and Newton realize she’s the descendent.
Meanwhile, Magda leads the rest of the gang (minus Harry, who’s killed, and Parker, who’s bleeding elsewhere) to an old jail. They find wood that they can use for stakes and torches. Newton and Helena catch up with them. Lake is being adversely affected by the vampires — more legends imply that those with impure blood can be controlled and eventually transformed into vampires. Lake is gay, so he fears this makes him “impure.” He hears the defeaning sound of a heartbeat at all times. The gang finds Parker, and they all decide to confront the vampires in the catacombs under the castle.
They find Domiscu, Andrea, and Fredrick, only to learn they aren’t interested in killing all of them — at least, not yet. They want the descendent. They think it’s Susan, so Domiscu grabs her and runs away. Newton and Helena rush off to follow them, leaving David with the task of taking the sick and injured to the hospital. They find a huge underground vampire lair, with victims hanging from the ceiling, being slowly bled to death; Susan is among them. Helena and Domiscu have their showdown, while Newton tries to fight off the other two vampires. David shows up to provide a little help, along with the others. Lake is uncooperative, being controlled by Fredrick. When Fredrick is killed, so is Lake. Domiscu himself decapitates Andrea and offers Helena the chance to rule the world with him. All of them, in tandem, help Helena to destroy Domiscu once and for all by forcing him to watch the sun rise.
Comments:Vampire stories have been done to death, so it was nice to read one that has a few fresh spins on the traditional lore. The author has a lot of fun with the vampire clichés and a strong wit is present throughout, often adding a much-needed layer of reality to fantastical situations. Even with all that said, the story succeeds on the merits of its characters — they’re clearly defined from the start and never waver, and this (to my surprise) includes the vampires. All the characters grow increasingly complex as more is revealed about their characters. The only downside to this is a lack of character arcs. The ending is fairly abrupt, so it lacks a lot of resolution, leaving me wondering how this wild night affected the characters. They’re introduced as wanting to find something — did they find it? Was it merely love they were looking for? If so, again, did they find it? There are a few kisses toward the end, but the potential for love could be made a little clearer (and to that end, how finding love amid this horror impacts their lives could be addressed).
Aside from that minor quibble, this is a fun script that, with some minor changes, could definitely make an entertaining low-budget horror movie.