Welcome back to Subspecies Month here at B-Movie Enema.
Full Moon Features had a certified hit on their hands with the first Subspecies film. The second, Bloodstone: Subspecies II, while leaving me with a whole bunch of questions (not the least, “Where are the Subspecies?”), was still fairly decent. It wasn’t as good as the first, but was far from some of the really bad cash-ins Full Moon tends to do later in the 2000s. The one thing the sequel did, was leave us with a cliffhanger. Last we saw, Michele (Denice Duff) had seemingly defeated the evil Radu (Anders Hove), but needed to stay behind in a crypt out of the sunlight before being able to leave with her sister Becky (Melanie Shatner). However, Radu’s mother and beef jerky person, aptly named Mummy, snatched Michele and drug her back below into the crypt for who knows what. We were teased with a coming soon title card that reminds many of the era of how Back to the Future II teased Back to the Future III.
So, here we are, it’s time for Bloodlust: Subspecies III!
As the second movie started with Michele’s voice over recapping the first movie, Bloodlust starts with Becky’s voice over quickly summing up the second film. I will say that I always appreciate that kind of recap. It really makes it feel like a sequential set of chapters in an overall story. Phantasm did that really well – especially when there were years separating each chapter. It’s a nice way for those to catch up with the goings on if they didn’t have a chance to watch series, or couldn’t, prior to seeing a new installment. Some may not like how it wastes some of the scant 81 minutes that Full Moon allotted for the third Subspecies film, but, it was only about 150 seconds spent on that. If your video store didn’t have the second movie, you had to catch up somehow.
Speaking of a video store, this movie is actually the cover art I know best of all the movies. This was the most recent release in the series when I began working at a video store in the summer of 1995. So there’s a little nostalgia here for me.
Okie dokie, I trust I will have fewer questions surrounding this movie than I did the second. This was likely made shortly after the second or possibly back to back with the previous installment. I trust this will be an easier watch for me. I may end up with fewer questions, but it seems like Becky has some serious questions about some choices she’s made over the past week or so. She’s looking at her dress, soaked in weirdo vampire blood and probably wishing she handled the call from Michele the way I handle certain requests of me from friends and family – by saying, “Nah, I’m, uh… Not feeling that great…? Talk to you later!” and then hang up and return to my daily existential crisis.
Meanwhile, in the crypt, Mummy is kinda pissed about Radu being killed. Oddly enough, despite Mummy essentially assaulting and abducting her, she sleeps peacefully next to the dead Radu. Mummy curses Michele for her innocence, beauty, and hold she has over Radu, and slices open her wrist to help in a spell to revive Radu.
Becky gets out of her blood-soaked dress and goes to town to call Mel from the American Embassy. Despite all they have seen and the strangeness of stuff going on around them, Mel and the local Romanian cop he and Becky have worked with don’t buy into this supernatural shit. So while they try to figure out what the hell is up with this crazy American broad, Becky goes into the crypt to find Michele herself.
Speaking of Michele, she wakes up suddenly to see that, indeed, she is the prisoner of Mummy, but worse, Radu is alive again. Well… As alive as a vampire can get. Sensing Becky is in the crypt, Radu and Mummy use magic to transport them back to Crackerbox Palace (yes, still getting some mileage out of that George Harrison reference from two weeks ago) which creates a bunch of fog in the crypt with a spooky cackling laughter from beef jerky lady and tips the fuzz off to some potential supernatural shenanigans.
Michele wishes for Radu to teach her everything about being a vampire. But he decides her first lesson should be patience. The best way to teach her that is to cage her at the castle. He goes back to town and attempts to attack Becky again but sees that Mel is watching over her. Instead, he finds a hot local babe to take. He brings her back home, tears her top off so we can see dem tittaes, holds her against Michele’s cage (so when the babe struggles her boobs jiggle real nice like), and drinks from her before letting Michele out to get in on some hot, supple girl blood.
Michele realizes, though, that feeding off sexy babes while I watch on with great interest and Mummy laughing evilly is probably pretty bad for the last vestiges of her humanity.
Mel, after seeing the fog in the crypt, decides that he’s gonna take a little more stock in what Becky has been telling him. They go to the professor guy’s office to grab the book about Radu’s family and takes some bitchin’ battle axes so they can fight some vampires. At Crackerbox Palace, the Romanian cop and a couple other guys come to get to the bottom of this various beeswax. Mel and Becky show up with their weapons and such. The cop, Lt. Marin, tells them that they still need to get the permission to search all the grounds of the castle and that might take anywhere from two weeks to two months. Becky and Mel are like, “Yeah, that ain’t working for us” and go on into the castle to have a look around. However, they can’t get too far as they discover the passage way deeper into the castle has been blocked, likely by Radu and Mummy who expected them.
That night, Mummy watches as Mel and Becky spy on the castle. Michele begs for them to be left alone, even promising she will do anything for their safety. Radu says she must sever the ties to her own mortality. Even though she loves her sister, Radu explains there can’t really be any love among the undead, there’s only hunger. Even though Michele reminds Radu that he promised to teach her everything about being a vampire, and he says he will once she proves herself worthy, I’d say that he was teaching her some stuff. You know, no love, only hunger, yada yada yada. Not sure what you’re expecting here, Michele, my belle.
(Ooh, a Beatles reference that can run adjacent to the George Harrison one. Good on me!)
Meanwhile, Mel and Becky have some kissy-face make out fun until she closes her eyes and is haunted by images of Mummy and Radu, which can definitely sour any burgeoning fuck sessions. But before that, they learn a little more about Radu’s origin from the book he lifted from the professor.
While Mel and Becky do their learning, Michele learns some stuff from Radu. She learns how to basically teleport as well as how to glamour a young violinist in town drawing him out alone. When she reveals her fangs and is too slow to attack, Radu has to finish the job, but a lady motorist stops and she is fed upon as well. Marin hears the girl’s scream but is not able to get to the scene of the feeding in time to find out what’s going. Just before dawn, Michele and Radu have a tender conversation about love and whether or not the sun could actually kill a vampire. He allows her to bite him as a way, I suppose, of baring himself in love to her for all time. However, she tells him she will hate him for all time.
I have come to a fairly significant realization about this movie. You know when people comment on Facebook that a movie is “still better than Twilight” in a snarky or kind of sarcastic way? Like someone might make a joke about a movie in which Ted Bundy falls in love with a female vampire and they go on a horrific killing spree across America? Then whoever is commenting on that post or overhearing you talk about that idea at a horror convention or something would smirk and say, “Still better than Twilight.” THIS is the movie that you can definitely say is better than Twilight. This little direct-to-video third installment of a Full Moon Features series is more interesting and has more atmosphere and romantic qualities (at least in terms of theme and classical sense of vampires as a pop culture phenomenon) than all those books and movies in that crappy young adult series could ever have. Way to go Full Moon and director Ted Nicolaou!
But I digress…
Mel puts in a call to a friend at the CIA to come help. In the village, the locals are all abuzz about some missing residents. They say people going to Crackerbox Palace have awoken strigoi – Romanian for vampire. Deciding this might be their best chance to look around, Mel, Becky, and Marin go to castle to look around. There, they are met by Bob, Mel’s goofy CIA buddy. Bob’s armed with a bunch of silver bullets. He quickly scales the wall of the castle and helps Mel up to the top. Inside the castle, Bob and Mel sneak around to see what they can find. They hear a woman screaming and struggling. Becky tries to keep them from going too deep because she knows Mummy doesn’t sleep by day. They find Mummy trying to cut the arm of the lady motorist Michele and Radu captured. Mummy tosses a dagger right into Bob’s head killing him.
On the scale of worthlessness, Bob is definitely giving fuckboy Stefan a run for his money.
As the sun sets, Becky prepares to enter Crackerbox Palace while Marin stays behind to stand guard. Inside, Radu still tries to woo Michele, but he’s like a crazy monster man who likes biting her neck and shit, and she’s still fairly hot. Mel is inside the cage with the lady while Mummy laughs at him. Radu and Michele enter and Mummy throws a fit about Michele wearing a particular piece of jewelry. She threatens to kill Michele, but Radu tears Mummy’s arm off and eventually beheads the old beef jerky lady to prove his true loyalty to his beloved disciple.
Mel gets Michele’s attention and tells her who he is and that he is with Becky and they very much want to try to help her. Radu scratches Mel and tells Michele to feed from him. Before she can give into her bloodlust, Michele hears Becky calling for her on a radio. Michele barters for Becky’s life by saying she will devote herself forever to Radu as long as Becky is set free. Michele tells her sister of the deal she made. Radu spots Marin in the treeline and kills him. Becky makes the deal that he release Mel and his other prisoner and they, along with Michele, will leave or Radu is gonna catch a hot round of silver bullet in his head.
All goes perfectly to plan until Michele stands between Becky and Radu begging to be shot and killed. She takes the gun from her sister and holds it to her head. Instead of shooting herself, she empties that clip into Radu. Michele takes the Bloodstone and escapes with the others, but the morning sun is coming to vanquish the terrible night. Additionally, the silver bullets didn’t do too much to stop Radu who is still in pursuit. Michele begs to be left to die, but Mel thinks quick and puts her into a body bag. Why the had one of those, I can’t say. Anyway, Radu catches up to them and asks for the Bloodstone in exchange for their lives. Becky chucks it over the side of the castle wall and Radu chases after it leading him into the sunlight. He melts into some pretty gooey shit and lights on fire. He jumps off the castle wall and gets impaled on a tree where he completely melts into dead vampire bits.
Everyone not killed previously escapes and as Radu’s blood drips onto the ground under the tree he’s stuck in, new Subspecies form. Oh yeah, that is part of the subtitle. Glad they could make an appearance. They go over to the discarded Bloodstone to take a look as it glows and ends the trilogy.
There would be a brief hiatus for the Subspecies series. Three years after this movie a tie-in movie called Vampire Journals was released in 1997. It helps bring in some new characters to the mythos. It also set the stage for the fourth and final film in the series, Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm which brings Denice Duff and Anders Hove back as Michele and Radu. It does, however, make some changes to the titling by putting Subspecies back on the title line and replacing Roman numerals with a good ol’ fashioned number.
I don’t have Vampire Journals and this month is only four weeks long, so I’ll do a quick recap from what I can find about it before diving into Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm. See you back here next week for the thrilling conclusion to Subspecies Month!