Horror Club: Subspecies

Full Moon Studios released a direct-to-video horror movie way back in 1991 that would go on to spawn a franchise of three sequels and even a spin-off film in the seven years that followed; Subspecies was directed by Ted Nicolaou and it follows the lovely story of three college students who travel to Romania (fun fact: the film was actually shot on site in Romania) to conduct a study on both Romanian culture and the superstitions that surround it. The three girls make their way to a castle which is inhabited by a crazed vampire named Radu who looks like a weird cross between Eric Draven from The Crow and the legendary Nosferatu. Radu, who is played by Anders Hove, has been after the Bloodstone - a relic which drips the blood of the saints - and he goes as far as killing his own father to get it. Radu's half-brother Stefan (who is only half-vampire) befriends the college chicks and (of coarse) even falls in love with one of them, and has sworn he was going to protect her, even if it means putting an end to Radu. Can Stefan manage to kill his brother, thus preventing further deaths and saving the life of his new love?! Or is Radu able to harness the true power of the Bloodstone and use it to become the most powerful force in all of Romania?!

Subspecies is a sick vampire movie, if you ask me - from the very beginning, Radu pulls his goddamn fingertips off and as they fall onto the floor, these little demon-looking minions grow out of them to do Radu's bidding. They essentially help Radu escape from the clutches of his father and to get his creepy, over sized Nosferatu-like hands on the Bloodstone. Even if you don't like the rest of the movie, that whole scene - along with its amazing 90s-graphics and effects - should be appreciated by its self for just how weird and bizarre and downright entertaining it is. It is a perfect lead-in to the rest of the story, where the three cute college girls manage to find themselves in the midst of a family torn apart by power and evil. Radu looks absolutely awesome with his pale skin, giant fangs and fucking tremendous fingers, and Hove does an incredible job portraying a really creepy, somewhat-timid and definitely interesting creature of the night. His brother Stefan, on the other hand, definitely comes off a bit over the top and sometimes even desperate; I mean, the dude falls in love with college girl Michelle after literally not knowing anything about her, he just really digs her eyes. Regardless, his love with Michelle is what drives him to attempt to finally put an end to his brother, who has been a nuisance for far too long, so I guess that's kinda cool.

The on-site filming in Romania is what really sets the overall tone and mood for this film - it is perfect. The landscape and architecture shown throughout the film is exactly what was needed to really place you in ancient Romania and make you feel like this story was taking place centuries in the past. They killed it with the setting. The acting can be quite comical at points - not sure if that was intentional or not, but while most of the film feels serious, there are no doubt parts that you can't help but make you smile for how cheesy the acting could be (and that's not a bad thing - I loved it). Honestly, there's not really much not to like about Subspecies - it's a fun take on a vampire story that isn't just about a vampire running around draining people. The inclusion of the Bloodstone and Radu's subspecies (the computer-generated minions) definitely add a little extra awesome to this classic tale, and if you can't appreciate the fun in both of those, you might be watching this film a little too seriously. Sure, the whole Stefan falling in love after ten minutes of knowing Michelle is kinda lame, but it does help progress the story and is an essential part in what follows afterwards. It's a fun, unique take on the vampire genre that definitely has a lot to appreciate; the good heavily outweighs the bad in this film, and even if you don't like anything else in this movie, Radu and the amazing shots of him disappearing into the shadows make this film a must-see.