Sunday 20 May 2012

Subspecies (1991)

Yet another fantasy horror movie formulated in the fevered mind of Charles Band, this low budget vampire film may have a lot going against it but it also has a surprising number of good points.

Radu (Anders Hove) is an evil vampire who can snap off his fingers to make little creatures that help do his bidding. We find this out at the very beginning of the movie when he returns to his village and angrily confronts his father (Angus Scrimm, wearing a wig that I can only describe as making him look like an 80 year old Leo Sayer).

"You make me feel like dancing, I want to dance the night away!"

Anyway, it's not long before we get to the main plot of the movie. Namely, three young girls end up having their lives endangered as they try to learn more about the history of the area and the tales of vampires that many of the locals choose to believe in. Silly, ignorant locals. One or two bitey moments later and it's the girls who feel silly. And scared.

Directed by Ted Nicolaou, Subspecies is surprisingly enjoyable for the type of b-movie fodder it so obviously is. The script by Jackson Barr and David Pabian may not be up to much but the pace never drags and there are some very good practical effects here and there. The stop motion work, showing the creatures created by Radu, is a hell of a lot better than I was expecting and shows that every penny in the budget was well used.

The acting isn't great, to be honest, but nobody really stinks either. Irina Movila, Michelle McBride and Laura Tate are the three girls about to learn more than they ever wanted to know while Michael Watson is the dull Stefan (a slightly mysterious man who might be able to help out), Ivan J. Rado plays an older man who knows more than he's letting on and Anders Hove is excellent as the evil Radu.

A bit of bloodletting, some decent special effects, a small helping of gratuitous nudity, some terrible decisions made by the main characters and a list of characters that includes "old crone" all mix together to make this one of the better movies from Full Moon Studios that you could choose to watch.


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