Full Moon Entertainment hasn't always been synonymous with great or even good films. They were a staple of my childhood (as were Empire Pictures before them), and my love for Puppet Master, Robot Jox and Demonic Toys is never ending. 'Subspecies' is another series of films which for some reason I never managed to see until my mid teens, and they really surprised me.
Gone was the overt campness rife in most Full Moon films, only to be replaced with Gothic sensibilities (it being one of the first American films to be filmed in Romania goes a long way to achieve this) and what is possibly the scariest and most enigmatic Vampire to ever grace the silver screen. Oh, and did I mention the opening scene features 'The Tall Man' Angus Scrimm in a very memorable cameo?
In Subspecies, we follow three students who travel to Romania to study folklore. Unfortunately, they find themselves at the center of a blood-feud between Radu and his brother Stefan. As Stefan befriends the girls, Radu targets them while Stefan attempts to protect them from his murderous brother. Some may die, and some may become undead!
Subspecies manages to work on every level. It has a Villain who is played fantastically by Anders Hove, that will chill even the most hardened horror fan. Radu should be up there with the likes of Freddy, Jason, Michael etc. He is pure evil, with a smile that is so sinister it chills the spine. There is also an air of tradgedy around him, which is explored, along with his wanting for love in the sequels. But it is in the first film where his demoniacal behaviour is at its cruelest, with our introduction to Radu being one of sadistic glee.
Along with the incredible Anders Hove, the setting goes such a long way to creating the perfect atmosphere for the film. Everything just seems to have fallen into place, and in my humble opinion, everything about Subspecies is incredible. This is even more surprising as Vampire films aren't usually my thing (I can count on one foot the number of Vampire films I enjoy).
If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing any of these films, seek them out and you too can see Radu's blood-soaked smile and the murder and mayhem that ensues between two undead brothers.