Subspecies (UK - BD RB)
Marcus heads to Romania to get chased around by some vampires...
In this 1991 Full Moon Features movies, the first in the Subspecies series, students Mara (Irina Movila), Michele (Lara Tate), and Lillian (Michelle McBride)arrive in the ancient town of Prejnar to further their studies. However in nearby Castle Vladislas a power struggle between vampire brothers Stefan and Radu (Anders Hove) reignites and once they cross the girl's path, biting and blood shed ensues.
From the opening scenes between Radu and his big haired father, Subspecies shows off its limited budget. The make up on both vampires are pretty piss poor in two different ways. The father has a god awful wig on and little else to sell him as a vamp and Radu is so over the top 80s rock video horror it's hard to take him seriously, despite his awesome accent and voice.
The melodramatic acting doesn't stop throughout the film and despite an opening scene with fang filled evil doers and mini monsters lurking about, the film takes a fair while to get going on the vampire side of things. Of course there's a lot of talk about vampires and ancient tales of them but for a good third of the movie all we see is one skulking about in all his 80s prosthetic make up hinting that something might happen at some point down the line.
When he does start stalking girls, its just too little too late. The feuding brothers come together in dramatic ways and the girls suffer various fates but its really hard to take anything here seriously when the effects are so bad, the plot is so uneven, the script is so clunky and the believability of everything is always in question.
It's easy to describe the film's visuals - 80s music video. Everything is over the top gothic and the girls with their big jumpers and coats look utterly out of place. The terrible stop motion effects of the little beasties that come off of Radu's fingers never feel like part of the scene they are in and basically this low budget horror would need than an HD upgrade to shine.
As for the presentation itself, it's all over the place. Interior scenes look okay, with darker blacks and fairly bright colours but exterior scenes can look hazy and really quite washed out. This ages the movie quite substantially and it already looks at least ten years older than it's 1991 release already. Detail is a no show for wider shots and really only ever gets close to impressive when we're close up on character's faces, especially Radu's with his white powder nad paint make over.
I'd say this was just above DVD in terms of looks but really only just about takes advantage of the HD power behind it. Most of this is down to the source and of course the budget of the film. Fans will no doubt see more positives in this presentation but newcomers will just see the failings.
Well, a stereo track isn't exactly the best way to sell a horror movie. For starters the synthy electronic score does nothing to create any sort of mood here. In fact it even seemed to reduce in volume rather than rise in the scarier moments, adding very little to the scares.
Dialogue is fairly subdued and unbalanced and there's a lot of hiss to costumes when characters move around (that'll be the shell suit style jackets). This is a track that sounds like the source was unfixable and they just had to make do with the slightest of boosts.
The commentary track with Charlie Band is very much disjointed from the actual film itself and is more of a recorded Q&A that occasionally drops back into the film. This quickly turns in to a discussion on all the other Full Moon features and vampire history in film. There are specifics of Subspecies but Band seems more interested when talking about his experience with fans and his many movies.
'Cast and Crew Interviews' (08:38 HD) features the director Ted Nicolaou as well as a couple of members of the core cast. The 'Killer Montage' (01:45 HD) is largely pointless. The 'Videozone' (09:55 SD) is another archival look back at the old video magazine from Full Moon Features, looking at Subspecies.
Last up there's the film's Trailer (01:17) and the usual Full Moon Trailer Park which consists of seven trailers.
It's hard to believe that Subspecies was made as late as 1991. It looks and feels at least 8-10 years older than that, easy. I can't deny the the lead creepy Radu has a certain amount of memorable baddie about him but beyond that this film is a mess of ideas and no real hook. The disc itself looks way below average, holds little in its audio presentation and offers up enough extras to be happy with but not really any to be impressed with. I've never heard of or met a Subspecies fan but if you're out there, this isn't a bad package for the price.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 18th March 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Commentary, Vidzone, Interviews, Killer Montage, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Ted Nicolaou
Cast: Angus Scrimm, Anders Hove, Irina Movila
Length: 83 minutes
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