Daughter of Darkness (TV Movie 1990) - Plot Summary Poster

(1990 TV Movie)


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  • The Daughter of Darkness is an atmospheric, sub-hallucinogenic venture into the world of the unknown. The enigma facing the young woman is the identity of her father. Unfortunately for her she becomes drawn into a small Romanian underworld of brooding menace, darkness, torture chambers and bizarrely over make-overed vampires. The moody undertones and well chosen locations are certainly a bonus as is the comically funny finale.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Following her mother's death, Kathy Thatcher (Mia Sara) keeps having dreams of a crypt, statues of unknown figures, a cloaked man with no face, a glassblower's studio, and making love to a man with a large scar on his abdomen. She thinks these may be related to the father she never knew, so she decides to fly from Chicago to Bucharest, Romania, to find him. All she has to go on is his name, Paul Alecsandri, a necklace with a pendant of the Cyprian family crest, a photo taken 20 years ago, and an address on the back of the photo.

    It is August 11, 1989, and Romania is still a police state with a very active secret police. To get support, Kathy first visits the U.S. embassy in Bucharest, where she meets consul Jack Devlin (Jack Coleman). After a rocky start, he agrees to help her look, but not until the next day. As Kathy leaves the embassy, she notices that she's being followed. Frightened, she hails a cab and notices that it's the same driver (Max) who took her from the airport to her hotel. Max (Dezso Garas) also agrees to help her. The first stop is the address on the back of the photo. It turns out to be a nightclub where she meets handsome Romanian musician Grigori Petescu (Robert Reynolds). Grigori says that he'll ask around for information on Paul Alecsandri, if Kathy will meet him for dinner tomorrow. The second stop is a statue that she recognizes from one of her dreams. Next, she also finds the glassblower's studio. She talks to the owner, Anton (Anthony Perkins), who says that he remembers her father, but that he was killed in a car accident many years ago.

    Devastated to find that her father is dead and the trip is for nothing, Kathy crashes an embassy function in order to talk with Jack Devlin. She tells him of her dreams, but he decides that Kathy isn't quite rational. The next stop is a Red Cross hospital where she seekx records of her father's death. They find them, but the records are incomplete. Kathy is advised by one of the doctors that this is a common occurrence, but she learns at least that Anton's story is true: Paul Alecsandri was struck by a car and died in 1966.

    That night, Kathy gets a phone call from Anton. He says that he has more to tell her about her father. Kathy learns that her father was active in the reform movement, wanted by the secret police, and that he barely escaped execution. It was only a few weeks after her mother took little Kathy back to the United States that Paul Alecsandri was killed under a very suspicious set of circumstances. Anton directs Kathy to her father's grave. Sure enough: Paul Alecsandri 1919-1966.

    Dinner with Grigori turns out to be nice, so nice that he wants to make love to Kathy. What Kathy doesn't know is that Grigori is a vampire. He doesn't use fangs; rather, he has a set of teeth on the tip of his tongue. An interesting thing happens at dinner, as Kathy is approached by a gypsy woman who notices her necklace. The gypsy crosses herself and runs away, claiming that the necklace is from the family Cyprian, reputed to be vampires.

    On her way back to the hotel, the cab driver (not Max) suddenly diverts from the hotel route, takes Kathy to a cemetery, and leads her to the same crypt she saw in one of her dreams, where he locks her inside. She is confronted by a Colonel Masolf. The colonel suspects that Kathy is an enemy of the state, claims that her father doesn't exist and that they are, at this very moment, in the process of digging up his coffin. Fortunately, Jack Devlin suddenly appears and intercedes on Kathy's behalf. Yet, the grave of Paul Alecsandri yields an unholy secret: It contains the body of a female. It appears that Paul Alecsandri might still be alive.

    Kathy decides that her next stop must be the Cyprian family castle, which, Max tells her, is located in Transylvania, and he drives her there. The tour guide, discusses the history of Cyprian Castle and mentions, "Some of the local villagers believe that Prince Constantine still lives, having been turned into a vampire over 200 years ago." Another unusual thing happens. Kathy sees a statue of Prince Constantine, and he is hooded and dressed exactly like the cloaked man in her dreams. Not only that, but the face on the statue looks like the face of Anton. Could Anton be a descendant of the Cyprian line?

    Back in Bucharest, Kathy goes out again with Grigori, who seems almost desparate to make love to her. She almost relents, but stops it when she notices the large scar on his abdomen. He is another person from her crazy dreams. Too late, though. The door opens and a group of vampires enter the room. Amongvthem is Anton, who turns out to be the dead Prince Constantine, a.k.a. Kathy's father. Kathy is placed in chains in a dungeon, along with a number of other humans on whom the vampires feed.

    The vampires are in an uproar. Constantine wants them to release his daughter. The vampires consider her parentage so unusual (vampire father and human mother) that they want to try mating her with one of their own to see if she can produce "human immortals", who they claim would be superpowered and able to go about in the daytime. Grigori is hellbent on procreating with Kathy, but her father manages to release her from captivity and get her to the airport in an attempt to get her out of Romania. For his treason, Constantine is tied to the floor in front of a window. His sentence is to fry in the sunlight in hopes that his suffering will force Kathy to return in a desperate attempt to save him.

    It works. While sitting on the airplane awaiting takeoff, Kathy begins to feel her father's death throes. She leaves the airplane at the last minute and goes back to the vampires' lair. She tries to enlist Devlin's help, but he betrays her to the police. Kathy overhears, runs away, and enlists Max's help instead. Max procures a windowless truck and a canister of kerosene and, together, Kathy and Max invade the lair.

    It's almost sunset. The first priority is to find Kathy's father. He is horribly burned, but she is able to release him from his bondage. Constantine is dying. Kathy offers him her blood, which he drinks from her wrist. As she cradles him in her arms, Max picks up an ax and advances on father and daughter. Max is the vampires' Renfield, you see, and he intends to carry out the tribunal's sentence to destroy Constantine. Just as he's about to swing at Constantine, Jack Devlin shows up and wallops Max in the back of head.

    A melee ensues. The sun sets. The vampires begin to wake up. Kathy and Devlin release all the human victims. Kathy sprinkles kerosene around and starts fires, which the vampires fear even more than stakes. Devlin, Kathy, and her father try to flee. Grigori catches up with Kathy, but at the last moment, in a show of fatherly love, Constantine seizes Grigori and the two of them are plunged into the inferno.

    In the final scenes, a few days later, Kathy returns to Cyprian Castle in order to say goodbye to her father's ancestry. Devlin follows, they kiss, and we all know where this relationship is going. [Original Synopsis by bj_kuehl]

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