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September 23, 2011

Movie Review: Subspecies (1991, Blu-ray)

Full Moon owner Charles Band has managed to produce and direct some unique genre flicks over the years. Interestingly, it seems that he tries to make a franchise out of every feature. Some of them work ok, and some don't. The Subspecies series has been one of the better ones atleast for my liking.  Now the original film, directed by one of Full Moons most prolific contributor ,Ted Nicolaou (Bad Channels, Puppetmaster Vs. Demonic Toys, Terrorvision), is seeing release on the Blu-ray format.

Buy Subspecies Blu-ray or DVD

The backdrop for this vampire film takes place in Dracula's favorite country, Romania. Three lovely young ladies are exploring the wonderfully scenic countryside only to cross paths with a super-pasty bloodsucker named Radu (Anders Hove). Radu's fresh off killing his father (Angus Scrimm, Phantasm series) so he could get his bloodstone - a powerful birthright which he hopes to use in his favor during his blood draining outings.

Radu has a weakness for the three taveling lasses but is soon gets cock-blocked by his handsome mortal brother, Stefan (Michael Watson). This isn't the best plan for Stefan though, especially since he's nowhere near as powerful as Radu. Stefan also lacks Radu's creepy little demon minions that form from his body. Imagine some of those ugly little beasts from The Gate and you'll have a good idea.

Subspecies has a fun script and some cool stop-motion FX that may look dated now, but what it does have on top of everything is an amazing atmosphere. Real castles in Romania are used as sets, and it certainly shows. It also seems that local actors are utilised as well. This isn't bad and it certainly helps with the authenticity even though some aren't blossoming thespians. Anders Hove stands out the most and is excellent as Radu - which he thankfully reprises in the three sequels. I always get a kick out of when he's about to chomp down on someone's neck. It looks like he has a gallon of karo syrup just sitting in his cheek.

Subspecies is a definite upgrade on Blu-ray but it's just not as perfect as it could be. I did notice some color that could have been sharpened up by a good colorist and some scratches here and there on the element. All in all, the night scenes are more visible as is the detail skin-tones (Radu even looks whiter!). The improvement in picture and sound over the previous DVD is apparent here in this Blu-ray.

The extra features on this disc are pretty sparse. It would have been cool to maybe Ted Nicolaou and Anders Hove on hand for a commentary since it is a 20th Anniversary. What you do get though is a Videozone which you may remember from the Paramount tape and a few upcoming Full Moon Features movie trailers.

Full Moon does a solid job on this release even if it's a little scant in the bonus features department. Here's hoping Full Moon does well enough with this disc that they're able get the three sequels on Blu-ray as well.

                                           Photos courtesy of Rock Shock Pop


  1. Awesome review, Jeff! SUBSPECIES is one of my all time favorites and needs to be higher on the rank of vampire films. Hove is brilliant and the atmosphere and settings are near perfect. Now everybody let's hiss together, "tonight will be a blooooodbath!"

  2. This is the best Full Moon series imo. Thank you!