“Typical Cornelius” thought Jane. If it was not for the fact that he was one of the new names in the film business she would have turned the offer down to play the part of the leading lady. The script looked good, one of those vampire films and Cornelius wanted some genuine scenery in Romania of all places.
“Epping forest would have done just as well, but that forest was just not big enough for Cornelius and it was probably too plain and simple for a want-to-be Cecil B. DeMille” went through her mind. She remembered when Cornelius engaged her as the leading lady.
“Now listen Jane, I want this film to be a success. Not just the usual girl meets vampire, has fun with a few bites and big teeth and manages to get the vampire in the daylight where he burns to death. I am going to make a vampire film with a difference and to make it realistic we are all going to Romania.”
“Hey Cornelius, I don’t speak Romanian and trees are trees. We can just as well as stay where we are and make the film in Epping forrest.”
“Jane, do you want this job or not? Your last film was not exactly in the short list for Oscars and I am on a low budget with this one, so either you take the job or starve. Understand?”
Well, it was the truth. Jane was a falling star. Her last film playing the part of a mermaid that rescued the captain of a sinking ship was not exactly the success she hoped for. Basically it was no success at all and the only achievement for that year would probably be a raspberry, so what could she do but accept the offer of a leading role in one of Cornelius new films. Cornelius was the secret tip of the film business and this was her chance to get back into the limelight.
So the film crew all went to Romania and arrived on a rainy day in Bucharest. Cornelius had some problems getting financial support for his new film, so he decided to engage some local actors to save money. All he really needed was a few men to dress up in the usual black cloak. The make-up did the rest: a bit of bright red lipstick and white powder on their faces and the perfect vampire figure was made, not forgetting the build-up on the canine teeth. He found an agent in Romania, Mr. Topo Vladaru, who was looking after everything for Cornelius. On their first day in Romania, Cornelius had an appointment with Topo Vladaru in a restaurant for the evening meal. It was a pleasant restaurant and their table was outside in the fresh night air.
Of course Cornelius first question was whether actors had been found.
“No problems my friend” said Topo, smiling and showing his wonderful white teeth. Cornelius was very impressed with Topo Vladaru. A very tall charming man and very friendly. He wondered why Mr. Vladaru was wearing sun glasses, although it was evening, but Mr. Vladaru told Cornelius that he had only twenty percent sight though a childhood illness and his eyes were very sensitive to light, even the artificial lights outside in the restaurant affected his eyes.
“I have found the ideal surroundings for your film in my home town of Suceava, a town in North Romania in our province of Bukovina. This area has a long history amongst the Romanian population going back many years where many of our Romanian statesmen originated in the years gone by.
It is my home town and my relations have agreed to participate in the filming. My cousin Sangra will meet you at the station and show you the hotel where you will be staying. He will also be playing the part of your leading man. You told me you wanted a genuine Romanian as the master vampire in this film.”
“Yes, Topo, I would like a leading actor with experience, but are you sure that this Sangra is the right man for the film. Does he have any experience with vampire films?”
“Oh yes, my friend Cornelius, he has a lot of experience with this type of film role, many say his acting is very realistic. I would add he is also very cheap. I will join you myself in a day or so, but I have to finish some business here in Bucharest first of all. And now I must go, I hope you and your film people have a very happy stay in our country.”
Cornelius was reassured with the words “very cheap” and decided to accept this Sangra person. He was only there to give a sensual bite to Jane with the false vampire teeth, which were made of rubber in any case.
The next morning the team embarked on a ten hour train journey until they reached Suceava. Sangra was there to meet them in the evening at the station. Cornelius noticed that Sangra resembled Topo Vladaru although seemed a few years younger. When Sangra met Jane he was overjoyed.
“This must be your leading lady” he exclaimed “how much beauty can the eye behold? She is wonderful and something very special.”
Jane was a beauty with her long black hair and blue eyes, and when her eyes met those of Sangra she knew she had met her leading man. She could already imagine herself swooning in the arms of this tall dark Romanian with the beautiful white teeth.
The next morning the film team met in the nearby forest for the first film day.
“Can someone tell me where we are in this godforsaken nest” said Tom the cameraman.
“Just look on the map” answered Joe, in charge of the illuminations. “We must be somewhere in that hilly part where everything is shown in green on the map – Bukovina” and before he could finish reading out loud Cornelius finished the word for him “It is Bukovina, Joe, the places where the real vampires come from”.
“Are you kidding” said Tom, “Vampires do not exist, just a figment of the human imagination, and Jane is right, you don’t have to travel to this place to see one. Take a walk in New York City, or London for that reason, there are enough vampires on the streets there, only they go by the name of gangsters and they do it all legal and clean – no blood anywhere”.
And so the filming began.
“That is far too much light.” Cornelius was angry and frustrated. “Are you crazy. This is supposed to be a realistic film and not one that takes place in the middle of paradise. And now turn those lights back a bit.”
“That is the sun shining through the trees and not the lights” said Joe in charge of the illuminations. “I didn’t need any illuminations with all that fantastic natural light.”
“Then turn the sun off or do something with some black screens” shouted Cornelius, “how am I supposed to produce a vampire film when it looks like we are celebrating the sunrise in the Sahara desert.”
“Tom, do I have to say it again. I am making a fantasy film and not a realistic one. Jane are you ready with the make-up and the clothes. And Joe, for the last time, do something about those lights or do something to the sun. Vampires do not hop around in the forest where the sun is shining through the trees. They wait until night comes.”
“Ok, so let’s do the filming at night, then the light effects will be as you want.”
“Brilliant idea Joe, why didn’t I think of that. Ok everyone all go back to the hotel, we will meet here again at nine in the evening. Then it should be dark enough.”
“You must be kidding” said Jane, “if you think I am taking a walk in this forest at night then forget it.”
“Jane, you want this film part, or not?”
“May I intervene” said a voice, Sangra was there, although no one had actually noticed his arrival. Jane thought he looked even more attractive wearing his Ray Bann sun glasses.
“My brothers and I do have some experience with this type of film. I would suggest to do the filming in the evening, the light conditions would then be perfect.”
“Well, I think he has a good idea Cornelius”, said Joe, “but it might be too dark, then I will have to use the floodlights.”
“Oh No”, said Sangra “this evening we will have a full moon night and there will be enough natural light, which will also show Miss Jane in her true beauty”.
Jane, who could not wait for the filming to begin with Sangra, agreed and Cornelius found this would be a perfect solution.
After dinner they all met again in the forest. It did look a bit different as during the day. Sangra arrived and was accompanied by his three brothers. They resembled Sangra, all being tall, slim and the lovely long white teeth seemed to be a characteristic of the family. Sangra told Cornelius that he would not have to bother with the clothing or the makeup for him or his brothers, European tourists were always visiting that part of Romania and it was expected that they would dress as vampires for photographs, so they had the props already as well as the makeup, although it seemed strange to Cornelius that the rubber canine build ups on the teeth were not used.
“Ok Jane, go and get ready. You will need some makeup why havn’t you already put it on.”
“Had a bit of a problem Cornelius. I needed a mirror for doing it properly and I couldn’t find one single mirror in the hotel. I didn’t think of bringing one with me.”
“Is there anything that is going to be organised properly here” shouted Cornelius, who was gradually losing his temper. Sangra and his brothers seemed a funny looking bunch to him especially since the evening had arrived and they were outside in the dark. They all seemed to have a reddish sort of glimmer around the eyes and their lovely white teeth seemed to be slightly longer, especially the canines. Jane only seemed to have eyes for this Sangra type.
“Are you having problems Mr. Cornelius” and Cornelius recognised the soft voice of Topo Vladaru who had just arrived. Topo Vladaru turned to his cousin.
“Sangra are you looking after our guests the way I told you?”
“Of course Topo, your wishes have been fulfilled. We are ready for the filming. Miss Jane, I will help you with your makeup, I have a lot of practice – for the tourists you know.”
Even Cornelius found that Sangra did a perfect job.
So eventually the filming begun but only at midnight. There were too many preparations, the make-up, organising the actors and Joe felt a bit redundant as there was really enough moonlight without him creating any special illuminations, although he found the original scenery during the day more natural and beautiful. Jane must have had the longest kiss from a vampire actor in film history, but it seemed that Sangra and Jane both enjoyed and savoured every minute of it.
Tom had difficulty with the camera but he managed to get a few very good close-ups of Jane and Sangra. Indeed Topo Vladaru also assisted by holding Tom to help him steady the camera. Tom had a feeling that Mr. Vladaru’s help was a bit too much, especially when he felt a sting on his neck, but Topo apologised and said he was just brushing a mosquito away. As Joe had not so much to do with the illumination he just found himself a comfortable place under a tree and fell asleep there, but had a restless sleep, bothered with dreams of flying creatures and wolves attacking him. The film work was finished in one night, the remaining parts being done in the film studios in London.
It was a great success and won an award as best horror film of the year. Sangra was honoured with the most realistic vampire portrayal of all time.
So what did our film team do with their newly found fame. . Sangra moved to London and lived with Jane. They bought a very nice cottage just near Epping forest and were often seen taken moonlight walks in the area. They also formed an organisation for the preservation of wild life in the forest, and would look after the wild animals living there to make sure their existence would be secure.
Funnily enough the tramps that might sleep in the forest at night left, mumbling that it was no longer such a safe place as it used to be.
Tom gave up his job as a cameraman. He had problems with the bright lights on the film sets, but he soon had success in a new job. He wanted to work at night as he somehow started suffering from insomnia and found a job at the local hospital on the night shift looking after the blood bank. Indeed he was so successful that he soon became chief of the department. They said he could tell a blood group by just looking at the blood in the container.
Joe was plagued by bad dreams when he returned to England. Suddenly he seemed to have disappeared, no-one knew where he had gone. He was last seen at London Airport boarding a flight for Bucharest.
Cornelius decided to retire and bought himself a castle in the Carpathian mountains of Romania. He discovered his interest in wolves which were often found roaming wild in this part of the country and established the Rumanian Wolverine Society caring for stray wolves. Sangra’s three brothers were employed as his servants at the castle to help care for the wolves. Sangra and Jane stayed with Cornelius once a year for a holiday and were often seen taking midnight walks with Cornelius who always took his pet wolf with him. He called the wolf Joe in memory of his film illumination expert.
There were rumours that Cornelius was already making plans for a come back film staring his wolf Joe and naming the film “The Werewolf”.
Topo Vladaru felt very pleased with himself – he just could not help thinking back to the good old days when he was known as Vlad Tepes.