Bloodstorm: Subspecies 4 (1998)

Wait … Where’d Lt. Marin Go?

It’s been a nice run, hasn’t it folks?  We’ve already knocked out three reviews for movies you’ve never heard of and now only one more stands in our way of the finish line.  But, with Radu having been killed at the end of the previous Subspecies film, how ever will we sustain another one?  Well, as we’ve seen, death doesn’t really take when it comes to Radu.  Except maybe in this one, being the final Subspecies movie.  But there’s only one way to find out, and that’s by diving into the pool of blood that is Bloodstorm: Subspecies 4, written and directed by Ted Nicolaou, and starring Anders Hove, Denise Duff, Jonathon Morris, Floriela Grappini, Ioana Abur, Mihai Dinvale, Dan Astileanu, Gelu Nitu, and Ion Haiduc.

Surprise, surprise!  When we last left the vampire Radu (Anders Hove), he was dead, burned un-alive by the sun.  As per usual, it was not death enough for Radu.  He falls out of the tree he was impaled on, lands in a puddle, grabs the Bloodstone, and retreats to his castle.  His assailants – Michelle (Denise Duff), Becky, and Mel – got their hands on a much better supply of death by getting into an unseen car accident.  With Mel at the wheel, he probably drove four feet into a wall and the car flipped over and exploded.  Well Becky and Mel are now fully dead, and Michelle is no more dead than she already was as a vampire.  She gets rescued by a passerby named Ana Lazar (Ioana Abur) and taken to the hospital of Dr. Ion Niculescu (Mihai Dinvale) for treatment.  Ion quickly identifies Michelle as a vampire (and being one himself, he should have) and resolves to help her cure herself of her vampirism.  Radu travels to Bucharest to enlist the help of his fledgling Ash (Jonothan Morris), and Ash’s fledgling Serena (Floriela Grappini), to help him track down Michelle.  Radu finds her at the hospital and works a deal with Ion to release Michelle in exchange for some drops from the Bloodstone, but then Ion attacks Radu anyway and stakes him.  Michelle senses her master in danger and helps Radu escape.  Serena gives a key to Ana with instructions on how to kill Radu.  Radu kills Ion, Michelle helps Ana kill Radu, Ash and Serena try to kill Ana but the sun comes up, and the movie ends with Radu looking fully dead, but only until Ted Nicolaou makes enough money to make another one.

I’ve been pretty nice to the Subspecies series thus far.  I thought all of them had the best visual effects they could afford, decent enough story, and solid acting.  But then there was Bloodstorm.  The story was disjointed and confused in parts, and boring in all the rest.  I expected Radu to come back from the death he suffered at the end of the last one.  That’s kind of a given at this point.  What I didn’t expect is for them to just kill off everyone who didn’t want to be in this movie in the first five minutes because they couldn’t think of a better idea.  And you didn’t even show the crash!  Just an overturned car with people hanging out of the windows that were at least wearing similar clothes to the people from the previous movies.  Later on, how do you still justify that Michelle gets upset by drinking blood?  First, she has to in order to survive.  Second, she killed like 5 people in the previous movie.  Third, it was blood out of a bag.  You should be used to it by now, and at least you didn’t have to kill someone for it this time.  There’s a part where Ana is drinking with Ion and he roofies her.  In this scene, they repeat the same line twice, which I can’t really criticize because I don’t know how strong the booze was.  But it was probably just as strong as the booze they were drinking right before they started loading some spears into a trunk that they kept calling “stakes”.  It’s not a wooden stake if there’s a metal point on the end!  Their entire plan goes sour at the end because of their own stupidity.  They apparently decided they should go out to kill the vampire at around 5 pm, arriving to kill Radu just as the sun went down and he woke up.  Did you just decide you wanted to sleep in and fuck around all day?  If you had gotten there at sunrise, you’d have about 12 hours to kill Radu.  Not that it really mattered anyway as time was pretty malleable in this world.  Radu wakes up (which means it was probably sunset), they fight around in the castle for about a half hour, and then they go back outside to see the sun still high in the sky.  I must’ve been roofied for the scene where they went into the time vortex and emerged 10 hours later.  The main plot of the movie was okay, but the biggest problem they had was that they seemed to be trying to spin too many plates and confused themselves.  They had about three subplots going on simultaneously with the main plot.  The main story was trying to kill Radu.  Then they added Michelle trying to get cured, Ion hiding his vampirism, Serene trying to play Ash and Radu against one another, and Lt. Marin turning into a vampire because he was apparently bitten in the previous movie.  Then there were probably a couple of smaller ones as well.  So confused and disjointed did this make the story that they completely forgot to tie up the Lt. Marin storyline.  We see him dealing with the early effects of vampirism, Radu grabs him and says something to him, and then they just forgot to finish him up.

You’d generally expect a movie to get more funding and look better as they went along, but then you’d see Bloodstorm and your whole world would be turned on it’s head.  I’m not entirely sure if the movie was to blame or if Chris had just supplied me with a bad transfer of the movie, but the bulk of this movie was so bright that it bleached most of the scenes and made them practically unwatchable.  The only watchable scenes were ones they took from the previous three movies, and they did a lot of that in the beginning.  Radu’s makeup also got much worse.  I realize that he was supposed to be recovering from some serious sunburns, but it was actually more that the prosthesis on his face did not work out nearly as well as it had been working.  Even their fake heads (which I thought were really convincing in the previous movies) took a step down.  When they first decapitated Radu, I noticed that his eyes actually blinked after the decapitation, and I thought that was pretty good.  But then, when it was showing his head burning on a pike in the sun, it was really obvious that it was made of foam because it wasn’t burning like the hair was, or like it had burned in the previous movie.  They probably forgot that flesh burns in the time between the two movies.

The performances that came from the previous movie remain pretty much unchanged, and most of the new characters did not work for me.  Anders Hove was still Radu, and I feel like I’ve said all I can be said about him and Denise Duff over the last few reviews.  Hove made me pay attention to something again by taking 18 and a half minutes to bite Ana’s neck at the end of the movie.  I know they were TRYING to build tension as Michelle was trying to figure out if she wanted to stop Radu, but if he had just made a fuckin’ move and bit that neck, the movie would’ve been over.  The same would’ve happened when Ash and Serena were going to bite Ana a little later, but their hunger for blood is measured by the tension and poorly written story.  Jonathon Morris and Floriela Grappini did a good enough job as Ash and Serena, but Floriela didn’t get them boobs out, so I hate her.  Ioana Abur also didn’t get her boobs out, and it was less excusable for her because her accent made her a little hard to understand.  Michai Dinvale was way over the top creepy as Dr. Ion, so much so that I was pretty sure he was a vampire from the moment we met him, so there was no shock when they revealed it.

I’ve finally finished with these movies, but the movies did not finish strong.  The story was confused and disjointed, the visuals took a step down, and the new additions to the cast were mostly poor quality.  If there was any chance that you’d see today’s movie (and there probably isn’t), I’d say that you could skip this one and be better for it.  Since there is no chance of that, I’m not worried about it.  With these movies under our belt, we can now move on into the rest of the movie-making world.  Bloodstorm: Subspecies 4 gets “And now Radu is dead” out of “I hope my next movie has easy to find quotes…”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Bloodlust: Subspecies 3 (1993)

So Vladislas Killed a Bunch of People … Oh, This is Doing it For You?

I’m beginning to think that I should’ve planned these reviews better.  I don’t mind watching four Subspecies movies back to back, but since all of them have stayed in roughly the same quality level, it feels like I should’ve compressed them into two reviews, or at least spread them out by doing them one every other day so that the audience that doesn’t care to read about these movies wouldn’t fall off and not pay attention to them for four days.  Oh well.  I’m pot committed.  Let us see what Radu is up to now in my review of Bloodlust: Subspecies 3, written and directed by Ted Nicolaou, starring Anders Hove, Denise Duff, Melanie Shatner, Pamela Gordon, Kevin Blair, Michael Denish, Ion Haiduc, and Michael Dellafemina.

Picking up right where we left off, the vampire Radu (Anders Hove) is dead once again and new vampire Michelle (Denise Duff) is trapped in some catacombs with Radu’s mother (Pamela Gordon), unable to leave because the sun’s out and she doesn’t want to be glittery and get killed for it.  Or she’d catch fire like a REAL FUCKING VAMPIRE!  …Sorry…  Radu’s mom brings Radu back from the dead with Michelle’s blood, while Michelle’s sister Becky (Melanie Shatner) runs to get help, but the three disappear before the police can find them.  Becky and her friend from the American Embassy, Mel (Kevin Blair), go to Radu’s castle to find them.  Radu is taking Michelle out hunting to enhance her powers, and also teaching her how to be a better vampire while Becky and Mel try to save her from the castle.

The quality of the movies have really remained constant for me.  I could probably get away with posting my review for the previous movie for today’s movie, but I wouldn’t cheat you people that way.  The story remains solid, but with the occasional laughable moment, and the effects remain mostly underwhelming.  Around this point in the series (because I’m really super intelligent), I began to realize that there is a definite pattern to be found in these movies.  It’s a pattern you probably develop when you’re pretty sure this is the last movie you will make.  Radu will die at the end, and Radu will be resurrected the moment we realize we can make another movie.  I don’t find it that annoying, but it certainly takes the emphasis out of the fact that Radu dies at the end.  Why bother doing it if we know he’ll be back?  It’s not really that bothersome, but I have a pretty good idea about what I’ll see in the first five minutes of Subspecies 4.  After that, I was fairly fond of the story.  It was very similar to the other two movies.  Radu’s a vampire and wants to kill people, but also hungers … for love … from Michelle.  This movie takes it a bit further by having him actually begin to teach Michelle some cool vampire tricks, like disappearing and reappearing a short distance away.  I actually enjoyed these pieces, much more than the rest of the movie that was kind of status quo.  Of course there were a couple of things in this movie that didn’t mesh well with logic.  Take, for instance, when Mel is hurriedly trying to drive away from danger with Becky, so he starts up the car, throws it into drive, pulls forward about three feet, and smashes into a tree.  You’re supposed to be scared, not stupid.  Later, he has a make out session with Becky, but it happens right after he’s telling a story about King Vladislas slaughtering a bunch of people, but I guess that worked for Ol’ Beck SnuffFilm.  And then, later in the film, Becky decides to flat out tell Radu that she’s holding a gun with silver bullets (that I too yelled “Horse Shit!” at, but it was melted down from a crucifix).  Why tell him and not just shoot the dangerous vampire in the face?  Of course, later she does and it’s less than helpful anyway.  The graphics in this movie were roughly the same as the previous one.  Not too dark to see things in this movie, but nothing super spectacular.  They had a cool smoke effect that was fairly well done and a nice part where a girl seamlessly disappeared into a shadow, but they also overused the shadow effects like they had started too in the last movie.  Also (JOY!) they brought back the finger minions.  The worst animation in the first movie pops back up at the end to help bring Radu back (aka set up another movie), but they’re slightly better animated this time.

The performances and the people are still the same.  Anders Hove is still a pretty good vampire, but still definitely needs a cough drop for his raspy whisper problem.  There were also times when him being butt-hurt over things Michelle was doing did not seem to fit the character idea I had for him.  I liked him a little better when he just killed things and was kind of a dick.  Denice Duff was still in the movie, and was still decent enough at being in the movie.  She wasn’t really to blame for it, but I did get irritated by how many times she was able to convince Radu to do something by saying “I’ll do anything if …” or “I’ll do anything for …”  I’m sure she has a rather impressive collection of Klondike bars, but it probably shouldn’t work more than once tops on a character like Radu.  William Shatner’s daughter, Melanie, was in this movie again, but never really did that much for me.  First, she kind of dressed like a lezzie for most of the movie, with her short hair and Andrew Dice Clay-style leather jackets.  I assume she’ll be the one bringing Radu back in the next movie by pounding him on the chest and saying “Eeey.”  She also did something that I’ll never understand in horror movies.  When the unhappy, newly-turned vampire (Michelle) asks you to kill her, why do you not do it?  Yeah, she’s your sister, but she’s also dead already and not too happy with her station.  Maybe you should be a better sister, lezzie!  I would TOTALLY kill my sister if she asked me to.  I might even be willing to jump the gun on it.

My feelings remain unchanged.  Solid story, performances that do what you expect, decent enough visuals for the budget I assume they have, and buckets of fake blood.  A movie I would be okay with you watching, but good luck finding it.  One more of these movies to watch and then I have to figure out something else to do.  Bloodlust: Subspecies 3 gets “Okely Dokely” out of “Maybe I should just be paying better attention for quotes from the movie, instead of trying to find them online.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Bloodstone: Subspecies 2 (1993)

Forgive Me, Brother!  But the Bloodstone is Mine!

Keepin’ up with the Chrisdiashians, and moving into the second in the Subspecies series that none of us had ever heard of but Chris.  But it’s a review request, so it’s my duty to review them.  And stop laughing because I wrote “duty”.  The previous movie was a good enough go at it, but it was hindered mainly by production value.  Typically speaking, movies get more money and less focus on story as they get sequels, but does that also apply for straight to video movies?  We’ll find out in my review of Bloodstone: Subspecies 2, written by Charles Band and Ted Nicolaou, directed by Ted Nicolaou, and starring Anders Hove, Denise Duff, Melanie Shatner, Pamela Gordon, Michael Denish, Kevin Blair, and Ion Haiduc.  …Isn’t “Haiduc” a line from that Numa Numa song?

The vampire Radu (Anders Hove) is able to recover from his decapitation with a prehensile spine and a little help from his finger-minions.  When he’s finally back on his feet, he sets about killing his brother, Stefan, and Stefan’s newly vampired girlfriend, Michelle (Denise Duff).  He stakes Stefan (who is apparently much more allergic to stakes through the heart than his brother), but is unable to kill Michelle before the sun rises and causes him to retreat to his tomb.  Always the early bird, Michelle wakes up before Radu, finds Stefan dead, and escapes with the Bloodstone, a magical relic that is semi-constantly dripping with the blood of the Saints.  Radu is not too pleased.  Radu runs to his mom, who he calls “Mummy” (Pamela Gordon), for help while Michelle runs into her sister, Becky (Melanie Shatner), who has been searching for her.

Subspecies is still a solid enough series, though what I expected didn’t really happen.  The story did not move much in quality, but neither did the graphics.  The first thing that caught me off guard was that I was actually fairly interested in seeing what happened next in this series for some reason.  This made it all the more annoying when my Xbox wouldn’t play Chris’ DVDs.  A quick doctoring and a change in device later and I was finally able to watch it.  Now that I have, the story is still fairly basic, but still pretty good.  The movies are beginning to play like really long episodes of a TV show, picking up right where the last one left off.  It follows the obvious path set forth by the first movie, having Radu get revenge on Stefan, having Michelle flee, but I never really understood why Michelle would think to take the Bloodstone.  I know that Radu wanted it, and she would probably have an idea to honor Stefan’s memory by not letting him take it, but I would’ve left that shit.  This was my first day as a vampire and I don’t need the baggage of having Radu follow me around to get some rock.  Michelle dealing with becoming a vampire was pretty interesting for a bit, like when the sun woke her up in bed and made her go and sleep in the shower.  One thing that bothered me here is that the cleaning lady saw her sleeping in the shower and instantly started screaming.  I know it’s a bit odd to find someone sleeping in the shower, but shouldn’t you check for a pulse first before you just start acting like she’s dead?  The graphics did not change very much for this movie, but the finger minions were not nearly as present so I could consider that a plus.  They used the same shadow effects that I liked in the first movie, but they perhaps overused them for this movie.  Radu doesn’t really have to disappear into a shadow in order to walk across the kitchen, and then again to open the fridge.  He didn’t do that, but it was getting to that point.  The severed heads they used in the movie were really convincing though.  It was strange, almost as if they used their entire budget just on that.  They looked like the person they were supposed to be, and even animated appropriately, a feat that is not often performed by movies.  They also twice went to a metal club in the movie, and I really dug the music they were playing.  It was kind of reminiscent of King Diamond, or perhaps the Metallica cover of a Mercyful Fate song.

The performances were not notably changed for this movie.  A couple of the actors were different, but none really made that much of an impact.  Anders Hove still has a great look for a vampire, but his voice was beginning to wear on me.  He talks like someone just karate chopped him in the larynx.  If someone would give the man a lozenge, I’d probably be much less annoyed.  He’s otherwise a great and menacing vampire, and I guess technically his voice adds to that effect, but it irritates me.  There was one point where he was watching someone he intended to eat from a balcony above her and he started making strange mouth movements for no particular reason.  It was like he was stretching out his jaw, or he just had a spoonful of peanut butter or something.  Also, at one point he tells his mom that he hungers … for love, which does not really seem in character for him.  And I also think he’d probably get a lot more eating done if he didn’t have to make such a production out of it.  It takes him about a minute from the moment his mouth opens to the moment his mouth hits the neck.  I got irritated at Denice Duff at first because they almost showed her boobs and didn’t.  When you’re in a somewhat cheesy, direct to video horror movie, it’s your job to get them boobs out.  Thankfully, she became a better actress later when she did get them boobs out.  …That is all I have to say about her performance.

Halfway through the series now.  They’ve stayed roughly the same in quality so far.  The story’s about the same and the graphics may have improved slightly, but they overused a few things that ruined my enjoyment.  Anders Hove is still creepy and his voice is annoying, but there are some boobs.  I would say I’m comfortable recommending this movie as a watch, but good luck finding it.  If you want to watch it, befriend Chris.  Bloodstone: Subspecies 2 gets “Whatever I said about the last movie” out of “Still not able to find quotes for these movies.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Subspecies (1991)

It’s the Voice of the Friend I Just Buried, Alive and Well Now!

The reviews for today (and the next three days) come from a request from my friend Chris.  Apparently, the last movie I reviewed for him from the Make a Wish foundation cured him of his broken leg and now he seems intent on living a long and healthy life.  That’s nice and everything, but now he can continue to request movies of me.  Damn my healing abilities!  Anyway, the movies he requested are in a series of four movies that I (and probably most people) have never heard of, being a direct to video series of movies.  As another series of four movies about vampires, I felt it necessary to spread these reviews out a little bit from the Twilight series, even though there being four of them and them being about vampires is about all of the comparisons that can be made between these two series.  Having the days off to finally do these reviews, I was able to sit down and review Subspecies, written by Jackson Barr, David Pablian, and Ted Nicolaou, directed by Ted Nicolaou, and starring Anders Hove, Michael Watson, Angus Scrimm, Laura Tate, Irina Movila, Michelle McBride, Mara Grigore, Adrian Valcu, and Ivan J. Rado.

The vampire Radu (Anders Hove) kills his father, King Vladislas (Angus Scrimm), to gain possession of the ancient Bloodstone, a relic that drips fruit punch … or blood.  It’s really hard to tell.  A little while later, three college students – Mara (Irina Movila), Michelle (Laura Tate), and Lillian (Michelle McBride) – come to Romania to study their culture and superstitions.  While there, they befriend Stefan (Michael Watson), a student who is studying nocturnal animals … OR IS HE?!  Nope, he’s Radu’s brother, the one who embraces humanity, unlike his evil brother.  Stefan also starts falling for Michelle.  When Radu finds out about this, he determines to turn the three girls into his concubines as a big “fuck you” to his brother.

I think I thought much more of this movie when I thought it was from the 80’s.  When I saw that it came out in ’91, I started thinking that the film quality and production value probably should’ve been higher.  The look is probably the worst thing about this movie, though it’s somewhat forgivable because it was made cheaply.  Some of the shots are too dark to see what we’re looking at, and others (like Radu’s little finger-minions) you wish were too dark to see.  Besides those little finger demons, everything else (that you could see) looked pretty good.  They had some interesting uses of shadow, like when Radu’s shadow would retreat from a room when threatened.  The story itself was a little light, but still pretty interesting.  The synopsis paragraph up there is pretty much everything you need to know about the whole story.  Radu takes over, hates his brother, feeds on three girls.  But that’s pretty much all that a vampire story really requires, isn’t it?  There’s a vampire, and it eats people.  I know some people might think that it would also need a love triangle between it, a dog, and a simpleton, but that’s just not the case.  There is a little bit of a love story here, but not a very strong one (and that’s the way I likes it!).  Stefan inexplicably falls in love with Michelle, even though they’ve had very few interactions since their meeting two days ago.  But that story is very secondary, perhaps even tertiary.  As a good vampire movie, you should endeavor to have the main focus of the story be on the vampire eating people and the humans trying to kill it.  That part of the story is well done.  Except for maybe two parts that annoyed me.  First off, one of the girls sees the vampire (that they’ve seen before, and they all ran from), but this time she decides to take a picture first.  Don’t worry, she gets killed for her stupidity.  I love Darwinism.  Later, Michelle does the same stupid thing we’ve all seen in vampire and zombie movies before.  She’s in the safety of a church and she hears the voice of her friend, so she runs out to her and gets captured.  The problem here is that she buried this same friend not more than a couple of hours ago.  What is whatever Light Bright you’re using as a brain telling you?  “Oh, it’s the voice of my friend that I just buried, alive and well now.  Guess that was my mistake.  Let’s go say ‘hi’ and see that there is no way there could be anything different about her – or her teeth – at all!”

Anders Hove – but his friends call him HOVA – was a pretty convincing vampire.  He was appropriately creepy and menacing, with make up effects to make him pale and grotesque, with long fingers ending at pointed claws.  If I had a criticism to give him (and I do), it would be that I didn’t like the whisper/rasp to his voice.  It made him a little hard to understand in parts, so sometimes I had to really struggle to figure out what he was saying.  Michael Watson never really did anything of interest to me.  The three girls played their parts adequately, especially Irina Movila and Michelle McBride, because they each got some boobs out.  I consider that a necessity in my B-movie horror flicks.

That’s one down, three more to go.  A little more production value would’ve been appreciated, but it wasn’t a total loss.  Lots of blood and a couple of good camera tricks kept the movie visually appealing in spite of the overabundance of darkness in a couple of scenes and some pretty awful animation on Radu’s tiny minions.  Anders Hove was a pretty good vampire, but the only other performances that made an impact were those of two of the actresses breasts.  A decent enough watch, but probably one you can live without as well.  Subspecies gets “Good enough” out of “It’s hard to find quotes for cult movies.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!