Director – Robert Kubilos, Screenplay – Edward Gorsuch & April White, Producer – Jennifer M. Byrne, Photography – Andrea Rossotto, Music – Herman Beeftink, Production Design – Doug Brode & Derek Hughes. Production Company – Indigo Entertainment.
Renee Rea (Jennifer Slane), Tristen Coeur D’Alene (Jack Connor), Catalina Larranaga (Lizzie), Sean Vossler (Peter), John Maryland (Van Helsing)
Jennifer Slane, a newly-born vampire created by Gaylen, comes to L.A. and moves into Gaylen’s apartment. There she is drawn to the vampire nightclub that operates across the street. At the club, she is befriended by 2800-year-old vampire mistress Lizzie and becomes attracted to Lizzie’s younger lover Jack. Meanwhile Peter, Jennifer’s boyfriend from back home, comes in search of her and falls in with the vampire hunter Van Helsing.
Embrace the Darkness (1998) was one of the better works of made-for-cable erotica, a vampire film that blended sensual erotic scenes with some surprisingly imaginative flourishes of directorial style. Now comes this sequel. None of the original cast members or production crew return from the original and the only point of connection, beyond that of both being erotic vampire films, is that this supposedly has the heroine come to live in the apartment of Gaylen, the lead vampire from the original.
Certainly, this film appears better budgeted than the original, which gave the impression of being set in a single warehouse. There are some intriguingly dressed sets and the film willingly embraces Goth chic, serving up some niftily exotic costume designs and interesting teases of Goth erotica. On the other hand, it seems more interested in being a horror film than an erotic film. All the principal actresses do get topless at various points but the sex scenes are brief and rather dull.
The story is the old softcore erotica standard of the country girl come to the big city where her innocence is in danger of being corrupted by decadent debaucheries. Not too much is explained about how the Jennifer character became a vampire in the first place – it is just something thrown at us in the beginning. In the end, Embrace the Darkness II seems oddly caught between being an erotic film – which it never seems that interested in being – and a horror film – but one where the plot is struck at the minimalist level of an erotic film – and never quite satisfying as either as result.
As the vampire queen Lizzie, Catalina Larranaga certainly has a sultry, decadent presence. Although the character of Tristen Coeur D’Alene’s Jack, the substitute for Kevin Spirtas’s Gaylen from the original, lacks Spirtas’s darkly handsome moodiness. D’Alene comes with a pockmarked face and an Irish accent – he seems more like a petty street thug than he does a moodily handsome vampire lover. He plays the part not too badly though – rather than a darkly tortured seducer, he gives us a more inward, softer, overtly romantic figure.
Director Robert Kubilos made a further sequel Embrace the Darkness 3 (2002), which continues the adventures of Jennifer but features an entirely different cast.