13 April 2004 | Gafke
Beauty & The Beast
This film picks up right where the first film left off. Brand new vampire Michelle must flee Castle Vladislas after the eternally slobbering Radu kills her lover, the Good Vampire Stefan (no great loss, really). Michelle has not gone away empty handed however; the life-giving Bloodstone is now in her possession, and Radu wants it back. Finding Michelle is no problem, but killing her (as he had originally intended) proves much more difficult as the hideous Radu decides he wants both the Bloodstone and Michelle for his own.
Denice Duff is quite good as the new Michelle here, stalking victims in humid European nightclubs with a seductive coldness, while at the same time desperately trying to deny the murderous impulses which disgust her. She is heartbroken without being whiny, tragic and lost but refusing to be anything other than what she has become. Her scene in the hotel is one of the best in the film, as she cries herself to sleep and then wakes up screaming as the full light of morning comes burning through her window, forcing her into the cold refuge of the shower stall where she is later discovered, presumed dead and carried off in a body bag, only to awaken at dusk in full panic once more.
New characters include Michelle's sister from America, responding to Michelle's desolate and panicked phone call. Joining her later are a young police detective and a Van Helsing-ish man who leads them to Castle Vladislas. Radu's "Mummy" is here as well, a cackling lawn gnome of a woman who is in desperate need of some Oil Of Olay. But Michelle and Radu always remain central, Radu disgusting in his cruelty and yet almost pathetic in his newfound love for the pretty Michelle; Michelle horrified and yet drawn to the ancient vampire who was responsible for making her what she is. Their relationship is most unique, a true Beauty and the Beast pair.
While not as Gothically creepy as the first Subspecies, Bloodstone is still a strong entry in the series, visually compelling and with a good, strong storyline to boot. All the actors are earnest and believable simply because (with the exception of the Immortal Michelle and her icy-white radiance) they are approachable looking, attractive without being blindingly so. And then there's Radu...
Radu is the main reason I am as big a fan of these films as I am. He is gross, manicure-impaired, ugly as all hell (literally!), and yet he's also aristocratic and cunning with a wicked sense of humor and an intelligence that has escaped most new vampires. He's not ashamed of who or what he is. He enjoys his cruelty, and his bloodlust and his eagerness to show Michelle the ropes is like the worlds most perverted Hallmark card. It's great! I said it before and I will say it again: Radu is what a vampire should be, and his presence makes these films totally enjoyable. 8 stars out of 10 for this one.