For those of you who don’t know 88 films let me explain really quick. If you are from Europe (like me) it was never easy to buy movies from full moon’s gigantic back catalogue, the reason being that you needed to order from the American website which had expensive international shipping. 88 films noticed that there was a market for that in Europe (and UK specifically) and does not only distribute but also create new cover art (reversible sleeves).
Why do I explain this? Easy, I have right now some subspecies and puppet master dvds released by them lined up for reviews.
First up is Subspecies, a direct to video vampire movie that will be released on Blu-ray and dvd on 18/03/2013. I am reviewing the dvd version of the movie.
The movie starts with one of the greatest sight ever to behold, Angus Scrimm in a great white wig. Angus (with top billing no less) is a vampire king with two sons. Angus (or king Vladislav if you like) has a bloodstone which we later learn drops the blood of saints and is only for “good” vampires. Radu (Anders Hove) , the evil vampire brother, kills his father to get control of this relic.
We then meet up with three female history students, Mara, Michelle and Lillian. They are specializing in medieval history so they meet up in Romanian (Transylvania of course) to do research about traditions and superstition in the small town of Prejmer.
They meet up with Stefan, the good vampire who helps them to combat Radu, who does not goes down without a fight. There are people turning into vampires, vampires caught in a net, people get staked, a louse sword fight and more of that cinematic gold that one expect from a real vampire movie.
Plotwise there aren’t any big surprises, but it never was planned to have a strong story anyway. The movie does has some other things going for it. First of all this was the first American movie filmed in Romania, and it shows with some very nice, traditional scenery and a lot of locals in background roles. And second it uses a lot of traditional ideas about vampires. Radu’s vampire makeup is a perfect example how a vampire should look. It looks like an updated version of Nosferatu with the long fingernails, creepy but not over the top. They also use local folklore like a dance festival combining with the unearthing the grave of the undead.
The name subspecies is actually for the smallest stars of the films, stop motion monsters made by David Allen and who are actually some sort of minions from Radu. The stop motion might dated now (and probably looked dated back in 1990) but I got a real kick from it. I love stuff like that.
The movie is of course not perfect, but in the words of the director: “Its still camp, but it’s good camp”.
The video quality on this dvd is the best looking the film has ever been, but don’t expect any miracles though, you can’t expect perfection from a movie that was made over 20 years ago for a low, straight to video budget. The audio track is just a simple 2.0 that sometimes sounds a bit hollow.
Besides a lot of full moon trailers there is an audio commentary, some cast interviews and the “videozone” included.
The interview with the cast has some tidbits of information about Subspecies V.
I can’t compare with the Blu-ray release but if you want a dvd version of Subspecies, this is the version to get.
Next time, the sequel.