romania.jpgToo bad there isn’t an Academy Award for best use of location, as Cold Mountain could’ve added that honor to its seven Oscar nominations. The nation of Romania, which stood in for the Appalachia region of the United States, should certainly be proud of its beautifully atmospheric role in the film. In recent years, with its rolling countryside, modern metropolitan atmosphere and old-world appeal, the country has become the go-to international site for Hollywood and European moviemakers. (It probably doesn’t hurt that work permits are not required to film there.)

This alternative to the popular moviemaking destination of the Czech Republic has set the scene not only for Cold Mountain (shot in the small town of Potigrafu) but for Francis Ford Coppola’s latest endeavor, Youth Without Youth (slated for a 2007 release). It even stood in for those fictional shots of Kazakhstan in the Golden-Globe-winning comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Blood and Chocolate, a werewolf-vampire thriller from German director Katja von Garnier, is the latest release to take advantage of Romania’s hidden charms—and what better place to film a vampire movie than the home country of Dracula himself? Bucharest, the capital city, was “like a character in the movie,” says the film’s star, Hugh Dancy. “It’s a luxury to be able to make the most of the city.”

You can also catch the ominous historic sites of Romania in:

An American Haunting
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Train of Life

Sound Off: Stories of vampires and werewolves have long had an association with Romania—either filmed or set in the country which houses the famously spooky region of Transylvania. Which of these stories have best translated to the big screen? Weigh in by posting in the comments section!