Director: Ted Nicolaou
Starring: Jonathan Morris, David Gunn, Kirsten Cerre. Romania 1h 32m
This film fits in between Subspecies 3 and 4 transitioning the story and cast from the original subspecies formulaic structure into something a little more .. a la Interview with a Vampire (1994). This slight detour from the excellent Subspecies series which featured the master vampire Radu and his tiny minions, the blood stone has been abandoned and the strange iconic atmosphere has been up scaled into something more gothic and misty.
The film is eerie at times, and overloaded with gothic clichés. A tormented vampire Zachary (Gunn) travels around slaughtering vampires in revenge of one killing his beloved and turning him into the undead. His new target is known as Ash (Morris) Zach plans to penetrate Ash’s heavily guarded fortress and kill him when he is most venerable. While stalking him at a show he realises that Ash has fallen for a musician, a beautiful American pianist called Sofia and he plans to strike, but his plan fails. Eventually Ash manages to lure Sofia to his club to play for his guests at a price that she cannot refuse.
The hunt has begun…
Zachary is determined to save the innocent Sofia and kill Ash and devises a plan to get close enough for both, but with Ash being an older and more powerful vampire with lots of dedicated followers, the task seems impossible.
The film is one step away from being a mockery on all vampire films, while Subspecies had a unique look and feel which brought back the folklore-ish vampires from the Romanian region back to life with stop motion minions and legends of bloodstones and more, this side steps into a more Victorian feel, every scene is filled with mist and smoke, the characters are more suited for the stage and there’s very little action but lots of repetitive drama. I feel as if the breed of vampire has shifted from a blood thirsty beast to an emo kid with a hot topic gift voucher.
Strangely it does have some alluring features, it IS highly atmospheric and a great deal of time and effort has been applied to the ambience of an age old tale of lust and mislaid trust. But it’s incredibly shabby around the edges and fails to really intrigue or entertain. Hopefully this minor side step isn’t a huge blemish on an already great series.
R: Subspecies (1991), Interview with a Vampire (1994)
L: A-Z of Vampire films, Grading Subspecies