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…”

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