EW Staff
June 25, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cradled in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the storied region of Transylvania frightens movie producers because of the: (a) vampires, (b) werewolves, or (c) pirates? The answer, of course, is (c). Like the rest of Romania, Transylvania has no copyright laws, spawning a video scene that’s as strange as you’d expect in Dracula’s hometown. State-run video stores dot the land, and all they carry are bootlegs-including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which appeared on tape there before it did here. ”One week after the American release, you have the bootlegs,” says Mihai Hristu, manager of the Bucharest film distributor Canal b and a native Transylvanian. ”Bad quality, bad vocal dubbing, but they are there and people look at them.” Patrons view the movies in video salons in garages and the back rooms of cafes. Since admission is a fraction of the 250 lei (about 37 cents) that it costs to get into a typically dingy movie theater, legit-cinema attendance has plummeted from 100 million in 1990 to 41 million in 1992. Last year the biggest movie hits hadn’t a garlic clove or a wooden stake in sight: RoboCop, Basic Instinct, Predator, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Karate Kid, Part II. Transylvanians, says Hristu, like ”action, romance, love stories, and not in the least erotica.” Indeed, Dracula drew a lot more blood than crowds. ”I wouldn’t say it was that popular,” reports Bogdan Vasilescu, former head of the Romanian National Tourist Office. Hristu agrees: ”I saw the other day Dracula by Coppola.” And? ”Well, the action titles are somewhat more popular here.”

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