Movie Review

Subspecies (1991)

Part of the Subspecies series
4/5

Subspecies starts with a very cool looking vampire—big fangs for outer incisors, white skin, no eyebrows, long fingers—confronting his father, who is a very silly looking vampire—just an old man with overly large white wig. The cool vampire, Radu, wants something called “the bloodstone” and can slice off his fingers and make them transform into mini demons through the magic of neat stop-motion effects.

Three women—Mara, Michelle, and Lillian—come to a small town in the region of Transylvania in Romania, to study the folklore of the region. They hear a lot about vampires from the locals and try to figure out what people of olden times mistook for vampires; however, they are soon to learn that vampires are real as they catch the eye of Radu. They also catch the attention of Stefan, a handsome man who turns out to be no other than Radu’s half-brother.  

Subspecies (1991)
Subspecies (1991)

Charles Band films in the 80s and early 90s were a whole different affair than flicks he continues to churn out to this day through his Full Moon monicker. They were silly but they also had style and substance. Films like Re-Animator (1985), Ghoulies (1985), Puppet Master (1989), and even Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988), are far removed from titles like Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong (2013) and Barbie & Kendra Save the Tiger King (2020).

Subspecies falls in the OG Charles Band category. It’s rough around the edges, but that just makes it more charming and immersive. It looks great with some beautiful shots and good directing by Ted Nicolaou who had already directed the splendid Band film TerrorVision (1986) and would go on to direct every sequel to Subspecies (there are five). Most of his other subsequent work has received less than five out of ten stars from me on IMDb, sadly.

The actors are fine in general but Greenlandic actor Anders Hove shines as Radu. Laura Mae Tate is also good in what could be described as a female version of Jonathan Harker mixed with Mina. The story is loosely based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with a Van Helsing type old man and a blonde friend that falls victim to the Nosferatu first.

The film has some great effects (mixed with some bad green screening), it looks great, is highly enjoyable and should be classified with other alternative vampire flicks, like The Lost Boys (1987) and Near Dark (1987). It did spawn four official sequels, the newest one coming out in 2023, and one spin-off, Vampire Journals (1997).

Subspecies (1991)

Directed by

Review Category

External links

The Subspecies Series

Subspecies (1991)
4/5
Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993)
3.5/5
Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994)
3/5
Vampire Journals (1997)
1.5/5
Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998)
2/5
Subspecies V: Blood Rise (2023)
3.5/5
Random Reviews
Bermuda Island (2023)
Bermuda Island (2023)
0.5/5
Hybrid (2007)
Hybrid (2007)
1/5
Ghoulies IV (1994)
Ghoulies IV (1994)
2/5
Shark Swarm (2008)
Shark Swarm (2008)
2/5
Malibu Shark Attack (2009)
Malibu Shark Attack (2009)
1/5
The Arbors (2020)
The Arbors (2020)
2.5/5
Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)
Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)
1/5
In the Spider’s Web (2007)
In the Spider’s Web (2007)
1.5/5