Decadent Evil (2005)

decadentevil_7Decadent Evil (2005)
AKA Decadent Evil Dead

Starring Debra Mayer, Jill Michelle, Raelyn Hennessee, Phil Fondacaro, Daniel Lennox, John F. Schaffer, Hazel Dean, Roger Toussaint

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


The experienced B-movie viewer is well aware of the “no bad movie can be short enough” principle, so any movie artificially trying to extend its runtime is immediately suspect. I’d guess that even Charles Band wouldn’t hold it against you if you judged Decadent Evil harshly in the first 15 minutes — which consist of 10 minutes from Vampire Journals, three minutes of opening credits, and two minutes of actual movie. And that’s the real shame about Decadent Evil: it’s actually pretty damn entertaining underneath all the low-budget shenanigans. It’s a film that reminds me how some stories just aren’t meant to be feature length; once you get past the padding, Decadent Evil is about as long as it needs to be. Part of that is that it’s built upon a foundation of vampire movie cliches and the characters are all fairly one-note, but nearly every element of the film is fun, which makes up for a lot of the so-called shortcomings.

Continue reading Decadent Evil (2005) →

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) →

Vampire Journals (1997)

Starring David Gunn, Jonathon Morris, Kirsten Cerre, Starr Andreeff, Ilinca Goia, Constantin Barbulescu, Mihai Dinvale, Dan Condurache, Mihai Niculescu, Petre Moraru, Rodica Lupu, Floriela Grappini, Diana Lupan

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: High. The trailer sold me on this many months ago, but I wanted to get through Subspecies in order to see it in context.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


After the rousing, impressive finale of Subspecies III, there aren’t too many ways to go with the series that would seem wholly plausible. So for the next entry in Full Moon’s premiere vampire series, writer/director Ted Nicolaou completely changed his focus, starting with a fresh batch of ancient vampires and the desirable innocents they pursue. This gothic group is only marginally connected to the Radu storyline (OK, besides one off-hand mention of Radu, it doesn’t seem to be connected at all), but the delicious backstory is enough here to satisfy fans of gothic cinema and Full Moon films alike.

Zachary is a rare beast, a vampire with a conscience. Drawn into the vampire’s world unwillingly and witness to the death of his love, Zachary vows to destroy the bloodline that created him. He arms himself with an enchanted sword and with a wonderful, bloody decapitation the movie begins. His main quest lies in Bucharest, where the devious Michael Bolton-esque vampire Ash stalks Sofia, a classical pianist. Zachary must remain vigilant and save the girl from his evil clutches!

Continue reading Vampire Journals (1997) →

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) →

Subspecies (1991)

Starring Anders Hove, Laura Tate, Irina Movila, Michelle McBride, Michael Watson, Mara Grigore, Adrian Valcu, Ivan J. Rado, Angus Scrimm

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


It had to happen at some point. With all the horror films coming out of Full Moon, it was inevitable that they’d pump out a vampire flick sooner or later. Subspecies came around fairly early in their life cycle and ended up being one of their most popular series, spawning three sequels and side story spin-off film. I’m getting ahead of myself though, as today I’m only here to answer the question, “Is the original Subspecies worth all that fuss?”

Subspecies opens with a great scene between the evil exiled vampire Radu (Anders Hove) and his father, The King (Angus Scrimm). The King tries to imprison Radu by dropping a metal cage on him, but Radu has a trick up his sleeve in his fingers. Radu is no joke; he fuckin’ breaks off his fingertips, dropping them to the ground. They wriggle and ooze blood, slowly transforming into three-inch high demons called Subspecies! It’s fuckin’ awesome! From here, Radu gains control of his father’s bloodstone, a red crystal that eternally oozes life-giving blood for the vampire that doesn’t get out much. Meanwhile, three college students come to Romania to study the local folklore. They soon find themselves wrapped up in a struggle to stay alive against the evil that is Radu!

Continue reading Subspecies (1991) →

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