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  • It's the classic story of good brother vs. bad brother as the vampire sons of old King Vlad - handsome, noble, boring Stefan and hideous, jealous, scheming, fascinating Radu - battle over the rights to their inheritance. At stake (sorry) are ancient Castle Vladislas, played to perfection by ancient Castle Hunedoara, and the family's prize, the mystic Bloodstone; a holy relic that drips the blood of saints. (What a unique invention! I wish the movie said more about its nature and history.) Into the middle of this gory sibling squabble wander the obligatory clueless bunch of cute American students, doing a research project on local folklore, and we're off to the races.

    Has its weak spots, especially the awkward animation and matting-in of Radu's tiny demon servants, but its energy, enthusiasm and imaginative ideas - such as the "shadow transit" by which the vampires travel, and the reptilian relish of Anders Hove's performance as Radu - easily carry it over these gaps. Add in some gore and nudity for the high-school crowd, and the pleasure of seeing a vampire film actually shot in Romania and using its wonderful medieval locations so central to Western vampire lore, and you have a thoroughly capable and enjoyable little horror film. Those who appreciate bloody but clever small-scale horror such as Brian Yuzna's Lovecraft films should have no trouble adopting this one.

    (If you enjoy my reviews, you can read more of them under my previous name - just plain "angelynx".)
  • Gafke19 April 2003
    This is one of my all time favorite cheap, corny, vampire B movies.

    Calvin Klein underwear model...oh, I mean, Stefan the Good Vampire, returns to Transylvania to ascend the throne of Vampiric Royalty, but Manicure-impaired and eternally drooling half brother Radu has other plans. Having killed their father the Vampire King, Radu now sets his sights on Stefan, Stefan's new mortal girlfriend Michelle and her two pretty friends, and the all-powerful Bloodstone.

    Okay, the scenery is beautiful, and it should be as it was shot on location in Transyl-fricken-vania for gosh sakes. The actresses are no great shakes and Stefan the Heroic Vampire is about as charming as a refrigerated fireplace poker, but who cares? There's only one reason to watch this movie, and his name is RADU! He's a physical homage to Nosferatu and he has the best lines in the movie, all spoken in the raspy voice of a man who smokes ten packs of cigarettes a day. The cemetery festival scene is one of the best scenes in the film, as Radu slowly approaches the camera and reveals his grinning, slobbering face for the world to see. I found myself cheering him on as he collected victims and taunted his perfect brother. But maybe I'm just a sicko. Questionable taste in men aside, I highly recommend this film to vampire enthusiasts. It's original, it's fun, and Radu is one of the best vampires I've seen in a long time...much more fun than the stiff, tragic, whining Undead brats that endlessly grace the horror screens these days. Radu enjoys his sadism and never apologizes. He's what a vampire should be.
  • Thank you Full Moon Pictures for restoring vileness to the vampire!

    Anders Hove, as the villainous Radu, is the type of fiendish demonic monster that all vampires should be. Yet people today, thanks to genre rapists like Anne Rice, would rather watch vampires gallivanting about like a bunch of aristocratic Sallys.

    The film centers around two college girls from America (Laura Tate and the curvaceous Michelle McBride) who visit their foreign exchange student friend from school (Irina Movila) in her native Romania. While there, the three appealing young women happen into a vampire feud. Radu has slain the father, a cameo by horror legend Angus Scrimm, thus acquiring the wrath of his good vampire brother Stefan(Michael Watson).

    The only drawback to this film is the lowsy swordplay, but how can Anders Hove be expected to handle a sword with foot long fingers.

    A vampire film done right, restoring the fiendishness to the vampire legend.

    Take notes Anne Rice!!
  • I love this one due to the beautiful scenery and castle. This one, Sub II and III were my favorites. Excellent for any gothic movie lover! Radu makes for an excellent vampire, sort of 'old-style' vampire what with the long hands. Laura Tate was pretty good, but I personally like Denise Duff as Michelle better. (In Sub II-IV). The actor who portrays Stefan is very handsome and does an excellent job.
  • "Subspecies," like many other horror films, gets a raw deal on IMDb. The majority of movie-watchers have a hearty contempt for horror, and when they occasionally rent horror films, they either want to laugh at them or cringe at excessively gory scenes. Unfortunately, "Subspecies" is not particularly laughable, and not that bloody, so it gets a low rating. That's too bad.

    Of course, there's plenty to criticize here. The non-actors are flat, the subspecies are a poor special effect, and the nighttime scenes are too brightly lit. But what do you expect? For a straight-to-video horror film, "Subspecies" boasts decent production values and more integrity than you might anticipate. The film's Romanian setting is virtually unique (I believe it was the first American movie made in that country, post-Communism), and the locations, both interior and exterior, are beautiful. The script has moments of intelligence, especially when it delves into local folklore (all bogus, I'm sure). Somehow, the location filming and smartish script work well together - "Subspecies" has its own very distinctive world. To risk damning with faint could be a lot dumber.

    Fans of the more gruesome aspects of horror will no doubt get a kick out of the blood-drooling vampire villain, Radu. He's pretty effective in this movie - powerful, with a memorable raspy voice - but I like him better in the sequels, when actor Anders Hove gives a more self-parodying, campy performance. A totally sincere Radu is somewhat silly. Other silly aspects include gratuitous nudity and the subspecies themselves, who are clearly only in the movie because producer Charles Band has a fetish for evil little creatures (see also Puppetmaster and Demonic Toys).

    But I linger too much on the movie's flaws. For what it is - straight-to-video vampire horror - "Subspecies" is perfectly fine. The sequels boast better production values, more violence, and somewhat more thoughtful story lines, so I recommend them even more highly. Still, this isn't a bad start for the series.
  • This is a perfect example of a Classic Full Moon Pictures movie. Any fan of Horror/Vampire Flicks should definitely check this one out. Original Plot and good, easy to follow Story. Also, this movie has some heart-racing scenes that combine Horror with action. As of now, the only sequel I have seen to this movie is Part IV, which I have to say is almost better than this original.

    I give it 10 / 10

    Fans of Horror Movies like this should Check out Puppet Master, Slumber Party Massacre, Skinned Alive, Sleep Away Camp, and other Full Moon Pictures flicks. For other recommendations, check out the other comments I have sent in by clicking on my name above this comment section.
  • Words fail me whenever I want to describe my feelings about this movie (and the sequels)... Does it have flaws? Sure it does... Starting with the "Subspecies" themselves,which were not executed well enough for a special effect.So why do I glorify these movies??? For the herd of movie mass-consumers out there,who care more about quantity than quality,about cheap fun more than about depth, crap like "blade" (it doesn't even deserve a capital letter),"underworld","Dracula 2000","dracula 3000" and so on are good movies to munch popcorn to and drink a couple of cokes... What makes Subspecies a superior effort for anyone claiming to be a Vampire fanatic,on the other hand,is obvious: The Vampire Himself is Romanian,the story is set in Transylvania (the scenes filmed on location are more than convincing),and the atmosphere is not based on any "action-packed" chases or expensive orchestral music.Radu Himself is the source of the atmosphere... This is what a Vampire should look like and this is how He should behave! Add a breathtakingly gloomy castle with dark passageways situated in Romania,include some typical Vampiric elements ( such as the movement of the shadows on the walls when the Vampires take to flight) and you have a work of art! In short,if ,like me,you 're fascinated with Vampires and feel that their appearance as well as the setting should be sinister and dark,there's no better place to look in than in a Subspecies movie... Or in Vampire Journals,the brilliant spin off of the former...
  • Jonthan2220 February 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this on Sky TV late one night, as I am a Vampire fan. I must admit I half expected it to be a B-Movie disaster but I was pleasantly wrong.

    Subspecies is about a family of Vampires. When a Vampire Lord dies, his two sons, the handsome and Noble Stefan, and his brother, the Evil, hideous Radu start a war with each other over their birth right, the Bloodstone. The bloodstone is a holy grail of sorts for Vampires and it bleeds the blood of saints, which give the vampire who drinks it an ultimate High.

    The fight for the Bloodstone takes an unexpected turn when 3 College Students turn up in the Brothers' territory on a school trip and Stefan has to protect them from his brothers Lusts.

    Like, I said, I went into this film not expecting much at all but it was one of the best low budget movies I have ever seen. The sets and locations (Romania I think, been a while since I've seen it) are very nice and the music score did the film justice.

    Most of the acting was adequate, but its Anders Hove as the evil radu that steals the movie (and all the subsequent Sequels). Hove's performance as the twisted Vamp is truly breathtaking and bumps the film simply from okay, to pretty d@mn good!
  • This is one of the best and moodiest Vampire Tales ever! I love this movie really. The character are great, even the locations and the story. Indeed the Picture isn't a big budget production, but it is absolutely worth seeing.

    OK there are some faults (especially the Names of the Castle and the Locations) in this movie, but such mistakes are typically and are almost in every Horror Movie.

    The scenery fits perfect to the story and is close to reality,I can say that honest, because I visit them once when I was in Romania in my Vacations.

    In my opinion this is the Best Part of the Subspecies Series.
  • To start off with I had a great back story. Two Vampire Brothers one, genuinely good, born of a Mortal woman(Stephan), and the Vampire king and the other, truly Evil, born of a evil witch and the vampire king(Radu).

    *one side note* Radu(the Evil Brother in this movie) was also the name of Vald Dracula's Brothers!!!

    I think this movie was great with the special effects. I didn't, and still don't know about the story line with the "Subspecies(the little demons)" Radu's Minions, but they were very well done. the primitive settings and tactile use of locals playing the towns people was great.

    One thing I would have done different when filming in the dark of night, in the woods no less. I would try to make the light look more like moon light instead of a spotlight hidden behind a tree. but to one effect it gave a hauntingly glow to the trees!

    Oh if you are like me and like to find mess-ups in movies here is one I'm sure you'll see... when the Funeral procession is taking place. On the cross is a name of the person that has died now later on when the towns people are performing the ritual with the white horse jumping over said grave look at the cross again the name is now in reverse the first and last names have switched places! ????go figure????

    But anyway, all in all its a great movie the endings well,uh,... well you'll just have to see it
  • King Vladislav (Angus Scrimm) of Romania is a vampire, but a vampire of light who wants nothing more than to live in peace and harmony with mankind. But his son, Radu (Anders Hove), is a cruel creature to his very heart (which is pretty obvious as soon as you see him). Three lesbian students have come to study local folklore, but find themselves drawn into the vampires legends at just the wrong time: Vladislav has been killed.

    Who can say anything bad about a film featuring a cameo from Angus Scrimm? Not me. I mean, I had some low expectations after seeing other Full Moon pictures ("Puppet Master" in particular, and "Demonic Toys"). But despite the really bad animated effects of the demons, this film was actually really well done and very fun to watch. Plenty of blood, a good plot and back story (the Bloodstone story was surprisingly refreshing) and even some new angles on the vampire mythos, which you would think would be dead by now. (Maybe I am wrong, but this is probably the first film to feature rosary beads being fired from a gun.)

    Aside from vampires and blood, you get a share of nudity (gratuitous, but welcome) and I had to notice the excellent score from the composers (not sure who deserves credit, but those involved include Stuart Brotman, Richard Kosinski, William Levine, Michael Portis and John Zeretzka). This is Horror 101 all the way. Heck, you even get two sequels, which is the sign of a true horror film. (Of course, some bad films get sequels, too -- did I mention "Puppet Master"?)

    The Romanian theme was well-done, and the film even seems to have been made by Romanians if I am guessing their name origins correctly. And the score -- the music -- really stood out for me as a nice change of pace, very mood-setting. I like Richard Band, but I am glad another composer was given a shot because he nailed the atmosphere on the head. If you like vampire films and want a slight variation (one of the Eastern European variety), this is worth seeing.
  • I can only give this a 6 out of 10. It was produced with a budget of less than 500k most likely. So with a budget this low a 6 is an honor. The main character Radu is pretty creepy I must admit. His voice kinda cuts right through you. He is one of my favorite vampires of all time, next to Chritopher Lee. Radu is on a continues hunt for 3 girls that visit Romania. This movie was actually filmed in Romania, kinda gives ya that 14th century feel, a ghostly feel. They run, they hide, they scream. Radu is assisted by three little subspecies. They are neat little guys, clay stop-motion animation figures I would guess. Violence, nudity, some gore but not too much. Worth watching. I am looking forward to parts 2,3,&4. 6 out of 10
  • It hasn't been since '91 that I've seen it but boy do I remember it. It scared the shatner out of me since I was only ten.Radu was simply HORRIFYING TO ME,GIVE ME THE BLOODSTONE,PLEASE. The little red dudes are great for what ails ya'. I don't know what was scarier, radu or RADU. The costumes were great, the settings were neat-o. I thought it was very nicely done indeed. If you can find it RENT IT TODAY!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was ten years old when I saw Subspecies, I instantly had the hots for Michael Watson and Laura Tate, they really do have some great on-screen chemistry in the earlier parts of the movie. I ordered a copy back in 1993 from Full Moon and I learned this: Ion and Rosa, the servants, have much bigger roles in the screenplay along with the King. What most people don't know is that there was an alternate sequence that was supposed to occur in the ending scene: Michelle and Stefan get cornered into a room and Michelle has the idea for Stefan to make her a vampire to help fight off Radu and her demonic controlled ex-friends. However, for some reason or another that scenario never made it on camera. Another scene in the script, that can be confirmed from the original trailer shows Stefan drinking blood from a wolf, or actually in the trailer you see him coming up with blood on his chin.

    This movie gets a 9 because it's one from my childhood and I have fond memories attached to the characters; even though my favorite characters were Stefan and Michelle I think Anders Hove's Radu is pure feeling-evocative acting, so much feeling in his work there.
  • dentrisha14 March 2005
    first watched this film years ago with my daughter who is now 13 and fell in love with the vampire. we both thought it was a top film, then watched sub 11 then sub 111 now i find there is sub 1v which i cannot wait to get my fangs on, and also there is a fifth in the pipe line. if no one has seen the movies. these are the best of the best. i think it deserver's a thousands Oscar's. i could watch these from morning to night.i would love to have a set of nails like he has, watch out girls. i love it as all the story lines continues from film to film. these ant typical vampire movies they are better. i would love to live in the life that is protruded in the films. it would make all my dreams come true
  • I have seen a number of horror movies to know that this one was one of kind. Full Moon Pictures has a knack of giving this fan an entertaining night. For all the cheesiness of most vampire films, This Is the ONE that has not only a good premise but has two good sequels. A Must See.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Three nubile, young scholars, Michelle, Mara, and Lillian, plan to study folklore, not knowing that a bitter power struggle between two vampiric siblings (the evil Radu and half-mortal Stephan) will soon engulf their ,as to this point quite benign, world.

    Another memorable Full Moon picture tat reminds me of how good the legendary studio used to be. I'll take Subspecies over either Anne Rice brooding queen vamps OR the more recent sparkly idiots any day of the week. The only gripe i have with the film aside from a decidedly leisurely pace, is not enough of the awesome Angus 'Tall Man' Scrimm as the doomed patriarch

    Eye Candy: Michelle McBride and Inna Movila both get topless
  • If you're making a list of the all-time scariest vampires in film, there are some obvious choices. Names like Max Schreck's Nosferatu, Bela Lugosi's Dracula, Christopher Lee in Hammer's Dracula films, Reggie Nalder from Salem's Lot, Gary Oldman's Dracula and Chris Sarandon from Fright Night immediately come to mind. One that is often overlooked but still deserving of the title is Anders Hove's portrayal of Radu Vladislas from 1991's Subspecies.

    While the film itself may not go down as one of the greats, the nightmarish Radu has helped to cement Subspecies' place as a cult classic. The primal bloodsucker is undeniably creepy, with a raspy voice and long, crab leg-like fingers that bring to mind the iconic imagery of Nosferatu. The movie spawned three sequels and a spin-off. For its 20th anniversary, Full Moon Features released a special edition Blu-ray and DVD of the film.

    Angus Scrimm (Phantasm) receives top billing, but he appears merely as a cameo in the prologue. His King Vladislav is the first character to appear, brandishing a chintzy powdered wig. But the cheesiness does not last for long, as Radu is introduced next. The vampire king, having been seduced by a sorceress, is Radu's father. As you can imagine, there is not much family bonding between the two. Radu kills his father in order to obtain the bloodstone, a powerful relic that "bleeds the blood of saints." Centuries later, two American college girls, Michelle (Lara Tate) and Lillian (Michelle McBride), meet up with their European friend, Mara (Irina Movila), in Romania to research the local culture. They stay at a Transylvanian castle in the town of Prejnar, where they cross paths with another guest, Stefan (Michael Watson). He claims to be studying nocturnal animals, but there is only one creature on his mind: his brother Radu. Stefan develops a relationship with Michelle, but the superstitions that the girls were researching become all too real when their blood is sought by the evil Radu.

    Subspecies was shot on location of Romania (reportedly the first American film to do so after the fall of communism), which adds immense production value. The rich landscapes, shadowy forests and ominous castles provide a beautifully Gothic atmosphere that would be impossible to replicate with sets. Some locals even appear in bit parts.

    The title of Subspecies does not refer to the vampire race, but rather Radu's pint-sized minions born of his body. As characters, they're entirely unnecessary, but Charles Band has a bizarre fetish for putting little monsters in his films (see also: Puppet Master, Demonic Toys, Ghoulies, Gingerdead Man, et al.). They were created by Dave Allen using stop motion and puppetry, which has not aged well. Thankfully, they don't play much of a role in the story, so their distractions are kept to a minimum.

    The Blu-ray presentation is nothing to write home about, but the movie still looks better than ever. This marks the first time that the film has been released in its proper 16:9 widescreen format. Despite some softness, the newly-remastered, high-definition transfer is a bast improvement on the grainy, dull DVD. Similarly, while the stereo audio is on the flat side, it gets the job done. It's unlikely that the film will ever look better.

    The only special feature (aside from some Full Moon trailers) is the Videozone featurette from the original VHS release. Innovative for its time, Videozone is like an electronic press kit featuring interviews with the cast and crew. They mostly discuss working in Romania. It's also interesting to learn that the subspecies were originally portrayed by actors in rubber suits before making the switch to puppets. Given that this is the anniversary edition, it would have been nice to have some new features looking back on the film or at least a commentary track.

    The marvelous filming locations and Radu's eeriness don't excuse all of Subspecies' mistakes. The film was obviously made on a low budget; the script, written by Jackson Barr and David Pabian, is a bit too melodramatic; the acting, particularly that of the three girls, leaves a bit to be desired. Still, director Ted Nicolaou utilized his limited resources to deliver what is arguably the best title best title in Full Moon's storied catalog.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is easily #1 in my favorite vampire movies. Without any further ado, let's get into the story.

    It starts out with King Vladislas (Angus Scrimm) in his castle, drinking from a relic called the Bloodstone. His firstborn son Radu (Anders Hove) comes in, confronts him and kills him.

    Three college students, Michelle (Laura Tate), Lillian (Michelle McBride), and their foreign exchange student friend Mara (Irina Movila) travel to Transylvania to study the local folklore and, by chance, run into the ancient evil vampire Radu Vladislas.

    Definitely recommended for people who love vampires and B-movies. There should really be more vampire movies like this these days, not the crap like Twilight that we get instead. Great special effects, too! 10/10
  • OK, so you've probably heard of Count Dracula, and Vlad the Impaler, but there is more to the history of the Vampire.

    In Romania the myth of the Vampire is as old as the hills. The people there really did feel a need to put a wooden stake through the heart and cut off the head of the recently dead who they suspect might be a vampire.

    Of course this and every vampire movie owes a debt to Bram Stoker. And this movie also obviously just rips the look of 'Nosferatu' for the main vampire guy - but he looks freaking great! And the special effects at the beginning with how he snaps off his fingers is really well done and cool and creepy disgusting.

    This is a good movie. Its filmed in Romania, at a real castle. The plot is interesting, this is as good as anything Anne Rice has come up with. I'm looking forward to watching the sequels.
  • oliviu20091 February 2010
    OK. So it can be done! We have here the perfect vampire movie. Gothic, beautiful. With all the ingredients. A realistic vampire. A wonderful story. Take note - I am from Transylvania and I assure you, this movie respects the vampire lore! It's exactly like the tales I heard in my childhood. For a transylvanian, it is quite... believable. You must see it, if you are interested by real vampires, as they were depicted in medieval chronicles and not how are they done in recent Hollywood movies (as far as I can guess, the Hollywood problem is they mix vampires with the incubus - which is pretty hilarious for me. Vampires are never good-looking or attractive, they can inspire only horror and repulsion. The incubus - called in my country The Night Flier, is the one beautiful demon which kills his victims by loving them.) I strongly recommend this for any Gothic person out there! See also the sequels, they are all 4 very good! And of course, don't miss DArk shadows! Something similar is Nosferatu In Venice with Klaus Kinski. I recommend that one to.
  • I thought that it was excellent the whole way through, it never got boring. I was very impressed by the Actors and the film- ing location. They did a lot of good acting, personally myself I thought that Mara had the best part.

    I am a big "Irina Movila" fan. I really enjoyed watching her throughout the whole movie. Subspecies was great.
  • For pure gothic vampire cheese nothing can compare to the Subspecies films. I highly recommend each and every one of them.
  • Radu kills his father and stills from him The Blood Stone(The Blood Stone is surpost to give the vampire who holds it ultimate power). His brother Stefan hears of this and shows up into town to battle the evil Radu. 3 other girls come to town and somehow get mixed up in all of this. The movie is filled with Vampire conflict all the way to the end

    On a side note this is one of the best Vampire movies i have ever seen. It was pretty low buget, but somehow it had a good cast and pretty good effects. Not to mention the makeup on Radu is some of the best i have ever seen. It ranks right up there with American Werewolf in Paris. Although it was low budget this movie sparked 4 sequals.
  • An effective enough vampire tale from Charles Band's Full Moon productions, this has the benefit of being shot on location in Romania, which gives it the kind of truly "stuck in the past", atmospheric feeling inherent to such European locales. Anders Hove plays the incredibly creepy main character Radu, an animal like vampire highly reminiscent of Max Schreck's Count Orlok, with striking long fingered hands. Radu has obtained the Bloodstone, an ancient relic that drips the blood of the saints, and he's addicted to drinking from this thing. Setting his sights on a trio of lovely young female students doing research on the local folklore, he's opposed by his half brother Stefan (Michael Watson), a much nicer vampire. Written by Jackson Barr and David Pabian, based on an idea by Band, and directed by Ted Nicolaou, this is very straight faced stuff and can be taken quite seriously, with a somber mood established right from the beginning. The local colour is extremely effective, with the music score (credited to five people!) giving the proceedings just the right touch. It's sometimes sinister, sometimes touching and romantic, yet does have an air of tragedy to it. The makeup effects by Greg Cannom are well done, and David Allen supplies the stop motion animated title characters. It's hard to feel much sympathy for the three girls - Mara (Irina Movila), Michele (Laura Mae Tate), and Lillian (Michelle McBride) - as they often act pretty senseless (then again, many horror movies would play out quite differently if they didn't have such characters). The actors are okay, for the most part; it's definitely the Danish actor Hove (recommended for this movie by co-star Watson, with whom he'd worked on the soap opera 'General Hospital') that takes centre stage, and he's quite good, giving his villain a real feral quality, not so much speaking his dialogue as hissing it. Genre icon Angus Scrimm, sporting a funny, ridiculous wig, is written out of the movie much too quickly; it would have been nice to see a little more of him. Incidentally, the amusing little title creatures, created out of Radu's blood, really don't have much to do in this story, not as much as naming the movie after them would seem to indicate. But this is still an entertaining enough low budget effort; Nicolaou and Hove would both return for all three sequels. Seven out of 10.
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