Song of the Vampire (2001)

vampireresurrection_2AKA Vampire Resurrection

Starring Denice Duff, James Horan, Jillian McWhirter, Frank Bruynbroek, Marilyn O’Connor, Geoffrey Lewis, Julie Michaels, John Mese, Scott Spearman

Directed by Denice Duff

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Song of the Vampire is a classic tale of a supernatural being searching for the reincarnation of his lost lover. I’m not sure where this type of story originates from, but I’m most familiar with it from the 1932 film The Mummy and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I’m a huge fan of both of these films, so to say that Song of the Vampire had a lot to live up to is an understatement. But since Song of the Vampire is such a low-budget film, holding it up against two of my all-time favorites would be dooming it to a pit of comparison and utter disappointment. On its own, Song of the Vampire is an average vampire tale that could have been better with a tighter focus.

The most interesting aspect of the film is the idea that in addition to the vampire, Jonathan Travers (James Horan), hunting down Caroline (Denice Duff), her abusive ex-husband, Marty (Frank Bruynbroek), is fresh out of jail and on her trail, too. One pursuer is a supernatural entity that feeds on life, hoping to reconnect with his lost love and be with her forever. The other is a truly evil man with nothing but malice in his heart, completely obsessed with Caroline and literally willing to do anything to have her life back under his control. Both men share a clarity of purpose, and they’re both willing to do horrific things on their way to Caroline. Since this is a romantic vampire tale, Jonathan is clearly intended as the heroic male, but I couldn’t really get into rooting for him. Caroline never asked for either man’s undying, obsessive love, so instead I hoped that she would transcend both of their desires and end the film as a powerful character living on her own.

Continue reading Song of the Vampire (2001) →

Trophy Heads (2014)

trophyheads_1Starring Adam Noble Roberts, Maria Olsen, Linnea Quigley, Jacqueline Lovell, Denice Duff, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Darcy DeMoss, Irena Murphy, Jessica Morris, Jean Louise O’Sullivan, Amy Paffrath, Robin Sydney, Carel Struycken, Kristine DeBell, Gregory Niebel, Stuart Gordon, David DeCoteau, J. Scott

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: As long as it’s fun I’ll be satisfied, and with this many classic scream queens I don’t see how it won’t be fun.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


For many years now, Full Moon has made movies that a mainstream viewer, or even an old fan from the glory days who missed Full Moon’s last 15 years of questionable movies, wouldn’t hesitate to call “strange” or “out there” or “shit.” For those that stumble upon the movies unaware of what they’re getting themselves into (like the Redbox patrons), I’m sure the general reaction is something close to, “Who would watch this?” Hardcore Full Moon fans, that’s who! Throughout changing video landscapes and formats, Full Moon continues to pump out films for their fans (and pretty much no one else). So it makes perfect sense that their latest venture, Trophy Heads (which debuted in June as a five-part web series exclusively on Full Moon Streaming), is not just a film for their fans, but a film about those very fans.

Well… perhaps that’s a little too broad, as I doubt most Full Moon aficionados would kidnap our favorite stars, murder them, and mount their heads on the wall, but you get the idea. Anyway, yes, Trophy Heads is about a fan who rounds up six of his favorite ’80s scream queens, keeps them in his home-built basement dungeon, and then murders them while making them recreate situations from one of the Full Moon movies they were in way back when. There’s not really any depth beyond that, but as this is something directly for Full Moon fans, I don’t think anyone really cares. I certainly didn’t.

Continue reading Trophy Heads (2014) →

Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998)

Starring Anders Hove, Denice Duff, Jonathon Morris, Ioana Abur, Mihai Dinvale, Floriela Grappini, Dan Astileanu, Ion Haiduc, Eugenia Bosânceanu, Cristi Rasuceanu, Oana Voicu

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Actually, pretty high. I realize this is Subspecies 4, but the ending of part 3 has me thoroughly pumped for this.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


With the ending that Subspecies III had, I fully expected there to be a lengthy explanation of how Radu survived and returned to life. Based on the opening of Subspecies 4 though, I apparently just don’t understand much about vampires in Radu’s world. They appear to be the Energizer bunnies of their universe, taking an incredibly over-the-top lickin’, involving sunlight-induced fire, a three-story fall and a multi-point impalement, but still keep on tickin’! All Radu needs to recover from his charred, broken state is a few drops from the wonderful, life-giving bloodstone. It makes those owies all better like a kiss from Mummy.

After the off-shoot film Vampire Journals, Subspecies 4 returns to the tale of Radu, your favorite insanely over-the-top vampire villain. He’s still after the undying devotion of Michelle, the girl-turned-vampire that’s been hanging around since the first Subspecies film. After Radu fell to his death, Michelle’s sister and her embassy buddy zipped up Michelle in a body bag and drove off to seek help. Shortly after, due to a small budget, there’s a car crash and the only survivor is the undead Michelle. She is quickly taken to a hospital by a passerby, where a mysterious doctor who knows too much offers to cure her vampirism through scientific means.

Continue reading Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998) →

Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994)

Starring Anders Hove, Denice Duff, Kevin Spirtas, Melanie Shatner, Pamela Gordon, Ion Haiduc, Michael Dellafemina

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate, the last two were very enjoyable.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


Another week, another Subspecies film, another ridiculous Radu resurrection! Yes, that’s right folks, being stabbed with a dagger in the face repeatedly and finished off with a stake through the mid-section is mere child’s play for vampires like Radu. This time around his Mummy uses Michelle’s sumptuous blood to resurrect Radu, by first slitting Michelle’s wrist, dribbling the blood on Radu’s forehead, licking the blood off the knife and then stabbing Radu in the hole left by the dagger in part two. Wha?!?!? This is a dark ritual for sure, and if it’s powerful enough to raise this bad motherfucker from the grave again, I’m glad I know nothing of it.

Upon resurrection, Radu moves quickly into the role of teacher, doing his best to foster Michelle into the good, lustful life of the vampire. Meanwhile, Michelle’s sister Rebecca refuses to leave her slowly changing sister to her inevitable death, so she once again teams up with the forgettable white dude from the embassy and the funny Romanian cop, Lt. Marin. Over the next hour, the film just retreads these two plot points over and over, without really moving forward. It still features the same beautiful Romanian locales and the same Gothic atmosphere, but this one is seriously lacking in story and thrills.

Continue reading Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994) →

Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993)

Starring Anders Hove, Denice Duff, Kevin Spirtas, Melanie Shatner, Michael Denish, Pamela Gordon, Ion Haiduc

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate. The first was good.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Coming off the somewhat slow, but very entertaining Subspecies, Ted Nicolaou and Full Moon pick up right where they left off with the sequel. Literally starting at the same moment Subspecies ends, Bloodstone: Subspecies II finds Radu in a predicament. Due to a disagreement in the first film, his head got separated from his body and a nasty stake was driven through his heart. That’s apparently what the subspecies are for though, as they cleverly remove the stake and push Radu’s head just close enough for the bloody tentacles and his spine to reach out and reattach his head. I’m not making it up, I swear! Like the subspecies in the first film, Radu continues to impress by possessing all kinds of cool vampire traits you won’t hear about in the schoolyard in between turns on the swing set. This is one of my favorite horror movie openings in recent memory, and with that, Bloodstone: Subspecies II starts off with one hell of an over-the-top, gory bang.

Besides Radu’s resurrection, the plot mainly follows the heroine of the first film Michelle (played here by Denise Duff), a recently bitten female who’s slowly adjusting to her newfound lust for human blood. When she awakes in the aftermath of the carnage that ended Subspecies, she quickly yoinks the bloodstone and runs off to Bucharest with it. When Radu returns to claim his prize and he finds it missing, he does the only logical thing given the circumstance; he grabs his recently deceased brother’s skeleton and furiously rips and stomps it to hell. He then runs off in chase, but is only quick enough to see Michelle board the train to Bucharest. Shoulda ate your Wheaties, Radu! I’m sure you can guess what happens from here. This sequel wisely does not seek to retread the ground of the original, instead mostly leaving behind the majestic but creepy ruins of the Eastern European countryside, for the urban environment of Bucharest. This instantly gives the film a distinctly different feel and look to the first film, while still retaining the clever shooting style and the star of the show, Radu.

Continue reading Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993) →

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