Subspecies is an American, direct-to-video, horror feature film series produced by Full Moon Studios.
The series ran from 1991 to 1998, and followed the exploits of vampire Radu Vladislas, portrayed by Anders Hove, and his efforts to turn Michelle Morgan into his fledgling. Angus Scrimm of Phantasm fame also features.
A spin-off film was released in 1997 (Vampire Journals), which featured characters that would go on to appear in the final installment of the film series. Ted Nicolaou (The Dungeonmaster, TerrorVision) directed each of the five films, which included the spin-off; he also wrote the scripts for the sequels and spin-off.
The series was shot on-location in Romania, utilising stop-motion and rod puppet techniques to achieve the look the director wanted for the series’ subspecies creatures.
The evil vampire villain Radu returns to his hometown Prejnar, after spending years in exile. He steals the precious blood stone from his father and kills him. Meanwhile two American schoolgirls team up with a local girl for work on Romanian culture. Radu becomes attracted to them but runs into trouble when his brother Stephan helps the girls…
“Subspecies is a moribund wasteland of failed visual gags and limp scares; there’s more life in Chernobyl than in this toothless waste of 80 minutes.” Digital Retribution
Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993)
Evil vampire Radu is back and this time he’s hungry for love. With the help of his ghoulish mother and demonic subspecies, Radu relentlessly pursues his obsession for Michelle and the bloodstone from the first film with all the lust, blood and horror he can summon. While Michelle’s sister Becky battles against Radu, Michelle struggles with the forces raging within her: an insatiable lust for blood and the repulsion at having to kill for it.
“With a stronger story, superior special effects, and better overall acting, Subspecies II is easily the highlight of the series.” Carl Manes I Like Horror Movies
Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994)
Still in the thrall of the evil vampire Radu, Michelle yearns to be taught the skills of the vampire. Meanwhile, her sister Becky tries to free her from his evil clutches, and this time, she’s brought some help…
“Filmed back-to-back with the previous movie, this third entry in the enjoyable Subspecies franchise is the weakest one yet for one obvious reason – it pads out a few good scenes in a plot that essentially just covers the same old ground that we saw in the preceding film. If you took the best bits from both of these movies then parts 2 & 3 could have made for one fantastic film instead of one good film and one poor one.” Kevin Matthews, For It Is Man’s Number
Vampire Journals (1997)
A 19th century vampire, Zachary, stalks a more powerful vampire lord in his quest to gain revenge over the death of his mistress. In his search for the vampire lord in Eastern Europe he kills many of his servants and fellow vampires while cursing another to vampirism as well.
“I will give Vampire Journals credit for this – it’s very well directed, and has atmosphere by the ton. Nicolau clearly has an eye for location, and he milks it for every bit of it’s worth. Also, it’s one of the last Full Moon titles that actually resembled something of a classy production-okay, about as classy as a direct to video movie can get, but class nonetheless.” Joseph Howell, Talk of Horrors
Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998)
Vampire fledgling Michelle Morgan has escaped the grasp of her master Radu Vladislas. Found by a woman named Ana, she is taken to a hospital where a doctor claims to be able to cure her vampirism. Radu, recovering from the near-death delivered by Michelle and her friends, travels to Bucharest to follow his fledgling. He visits the vampire Ash’s stronghold. Ash and his protege Serena plot to destroy Radu and employ the help of the humans, Ana and the Doctor.
“Nicolaou clearly knows his vampire lore, but fails to make the characters in his script at all compelling as the film lurches from scene to scene without much energy. It’s a disappointment given that the earlier films in this made-for-video series were, for all their faults, stylish and entertaining, qualities this one sorely lacks.” Paul Ryan, Digital Retribution
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