Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm
Director: Ted Nicolaou
Written by: Ted Nicolaou
Weapon of Choice: Sunlight
Based upon: nothing
Other movies in this series:
Bloodstone: Subspecies II
Bloodlust: Subspecies III
The tyranist's thoughts
Long ago, in the early days of the HFC, Rish and I picked up a decent little vampire flick called Subspecies. It wasn't spectacular, but it was good. Later we saw parts 2 and 3 of the series, which were a revelation. Classic vampire fiction without the modern trappings that often ruin other movies today. Not knowing it was at all related, we watched Vampire Journals and discovered that here was another well-told story in the same universe. For me at least, this became the best vampire movie series ever. There are better single movies, but this one is the best, most coherent multi-movie effort.
Alas, all things must end and while I've had the Subspecies 4 DVD in my bin for over a year now, part of me didn't want to watch it because it was the last there was.
Ted Nicolaou has said that this movie was made specifically to wrap up the series and provide some resolution to the tangled story of Radu and Michelle. It opens with Radu's plunge from the castle into the sunlight and Michelle being bundled off for someplace else. The car carrying Michelle wrecks and a kind stranger stops to help. Michelle is the only survivor. She soon finds herself in Bucharest, knowing that Radu is alive and bound to follow her there.
The biggest shame is that this is the weakest of the five movies. Weaker even than the first one that still really hadn't found its way yet. The blending of the characters from Vampire Journals is accomplished nicely, but it all sort of rings hollow.
The movie at times seems to be about redemption and at other times about control, revenge, and powerlessness. Then there are the bits that just seem to be about ending the series. When the final curtain does drop, we know what has happened to Radu and Michelle, but the resolution is wanting and the path there sullied.
Denice Duff is back as Michelle and does as good a job as ever. Anders Hove naturally plays the role of Radu. In fact, other than the unfortunately named Dr. Blood, the characters were acted as well as one could hope. It is in the script that I think the movie really hurt itself. There is both too much and not enough here. In some ways, I really think it could have been split and fleshed out into two separate movies and it would have been better.
If you've seen the other four movies it is still worth seeing this one. I was just disappointed that the series peaked earlier and lets out here with kind of a whimper. You might like it better. Probably not, though.
I really enjoyed two of the Subspecies films. This wasn't one of them.
As tyranist mentioned, the series really hit its peak with the second film, and completely derailed with this one.
This also did what I never forgave Alien3 for: namely, killing off the survivors of the last film (offscreen of course) at the beginning of this one. While I didn't hold Melanie Shatner in the same company as Newt, Bishop, and Hicks, it did sever the nice connection between this film and the last. None of the new characters are very interesting, except maybe for the middle-aged, somehow creepily sexual Doctor Niculescu, and none can replace those old ones.
Denice Duff had little to do, it seemed, except for gasp and look pale and then pull a Darth Vader at the end of the film. Along those same lines, after liking Radu the vampire in the second and third films, he goes back to the basically evil, disgustingly drooling creature we saw in the original. Too bad.
Also, I am bothered by the fact that Radu is destroyed at the end of every film, then rises again at the beginning of the next. Sure, it's a conceit we've seen since the 1930's, and one used in practically every long-running Slasher series, but here it doesn't seem to work. Could it be that I hold these films to a higher standard than I do the Friday the 13th or Elm Street franchises? Amazingly enough, it might.
I continue to like the Romanian countryside and sets in these films, as they are often beautiful and interesting. And I like the Radu makeup. Other than that, I didn't like much.
Total Skulls: 16
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|