Director: Ted Nicolaou
Starring: Angus Scrimm, Anders Hove, Irina Movila, Larua Mae Tate, Michelle McBride
The night has fangs
Three American college students are in for an experience of a lifetime when they are going to a small Romanian town to study the local culture. They find a nearby castle that holds a gruesome secret of the town.
The castle is the home of an evil vampire named Radu, and it doesn’t take long before the vampire takes an interest in the young American college girls. The girls seek help from a local young guy named Stefan, who unknown to them is actually Radu’s brother.
Subspecies is one of the most popular film series from Full Moon, and for once it doesn’t focus on small puppets (although they had to add some type of strange looking creatures in this one aswell) but rather tackles the old saga of the vampire creature and it does it quite well.
The film takes full advantage of the Romanian setting, which is just perfect for a film dealing with a story like this. It gave the filmmakers a lot of atmosphere to play with and director Ted Nicolaou makes the most out of it. Another thing that sets this film a part from other vampire films is the look and dramatic acting (by Anders Hove) of the main vampire Radu. His iconic look should be enough to spark sequels (which did come after this) and give him a noteworthy mention as a character that could have become a horror icon if the movies he appeared in had turned out to be a bit better.
There is a lot of clichés in the film and it’s hardly any scary at all. Some of the scenes are shot in daylight instead of nighttime for some odd reason and the addition of the small creatures is not at all necessary. The script had its flaws and if they weren’t so lucky to have a small village to play with for atmosphere, the film would have easily been a bit dull at parts. The idea of the Bloodstone is interesting, but not explained at all and it makes it seem kind of weird to even have it introduced here.
It still has its charm though, the vampire “universe” feels right and the girl characters are all likeable. The film is handled with a lot of care and you can feel the effort that was put in it, something which isn’t always that common on Full Moon productions. The music score is nice, but Full Moon fans will also notice the similarity between this and the score for the Puppet Master movies.
I kind of like Subspecies, even though it might not be for the horror crowd of today. It can come off as a bit cheesy and silly, but it still has some great atmosphere, an excellent vampire and a lot of love behind it. It’s a fine horror film for the younger ones, even if it might have an exposed breast or two and some blood every now and then. Full Moon fans should already have this and also fans of vampire films should find a lot to like about this aswell.