One might think that the entire Bloodstone series is about just that – the Bloodstone. In one sense they would be correct because in the end, it all revolves around that mystical artifact that carries the blood of saints within it. The first movie in the series though, Subspecies, is more about sibling rivalry than anything else, despite baddie Radu wanting the Bloodstone for himself. In fact, he wants the Bloodstone more than anything as the picture begins because his father had decided to pass him by for his younger brother Stefan who was to inherit the kingdom so to speak. From there, after Radu murders his father, the movie chronicles Radu’s attempts at torturing his brother wherever possible.
Starring Anders Hove as the villain and star of the film, his Radu is a madman, but a calculating one and his drive for revenge upon his brother is strong. While Radu is a full-blooded vampire, his brother Stefan is not, having been born of a human woman and thus only half a vampire. Stefan can also pass for human, something that Radu cannot do and when factoring in this and the fact that his father favoured Stefan over him throughout the years, has led to some deep-seeded issues within Radu. It comes to a point where Radu is going to turn three young women into his brides, one of whom Stefan is in love with. That of course is unforgivable and come the end of the film, the two brothers fight it out in a life or death battle where only one of them can walk away otherwise the resentment, jealousy and hostility between them will continue on for an eternity.
Shot in Bucharest, the movie has both a definite gothic and dreamy feel about it which really hearkens back to the Hammer films of old and it makes for a great viewing experience. The makeup used to transform Hove into Radu is decent enough though the continual drooling is a bit much and the little ‘subspecies’ that were formed from Radu’s fingers are surprisingly effective, not necessarily scary, but humorous. In fact, if there is one real fault that this film has, it is that there is nothing overly frightening about it. It is very moody, dramatic and melodramatic sure with its tale of warring brothers, but not really all that scary though director Ted Nicolaou tries his best to make it so. Hove is the creepiest thing about it and he hams it up well as the big bad.
Out of the many movies that Full Moon would release over the years, Subspecies remains one of its better films, going on to have three sequels and even a spin-off. It has almost all the right ingredients and it draws the viewer in completely, which is not something that many of Full Moon’s pictures can claim to do. Definitely worth a watch.
3.5 out of 5