Film Reviews:

Bloodstone: Subspecies II

(Ted Nicholaou, US, 1993)

Evil vampire Radu is back - and this time he's hungry for love. With the help of his ghoulish mother and the demonic subspecies, Radu relentlessly pursues his obsession for Michelle with all the lust, blood and horror he can summon. While Michelle's sister Becky battles against Radu, Michelle struggles with the forces raging within her - an insatiable lust for blood and the repulsion of having to kill for it.

This first release on the Full Moon Entertainment video label is from the same production team who worked on Puppetmaster and Demonic Toys. A follow-up to Subspecies (a film I have not seen and, on the strength of this, I have no desire to see), this mixes the standard ingredients of blood, breasts, and beasts into your ten-a-penny 90's B-movie horror flick. Our leading player - the vampire guy with the big hands - comes across as a unique mixture of Marlon Brando (check out that outrageous gravel-voice!) and Marvel Comics' Mobius, The Living Vampire. The stop-motion/men in suits 'subspecies' of the title appear only at the beginning of the film, in a neat, special effects-laden resuscitation vignette - all too brief if you (like me) are a sucker for stop-motion.

Good make up is wasted once the vampiric characters open their mouths; not only is the dialogue dire (the evil Radu continually calling for his "mummy"!), but the voices too are laughable. Radu wanders around, looking for dinner, his rubbery hands wobbling when he moves them too quickly and all the doors he passes through close behind automatically with the same old creak. Unfortunately, the films only distinguishing feature is sorely wasted. Shot on location in Bucarest, the poor lighting and camerawork fail to exploit some magnificent architecture and decorative interiors. Anders Hove as Radu expresses completely the wrong body language if his character is supposed to instill a sense of fear in his victims. Leaping around then walking like some drunken cripple and droning on endlessly with that daft Brando impression, he looks like a dance extra from a Meatloaf video. Some may wish to view for the delightful Melanie Shatner traipsing around in safari shorts ... in Rumania!? I leave you with the knowledge that part III of this tale is now available in the States. If we in the UK are lucky we may never get to see it.

Rob Dyer