Subspecies Month marches on!
With Subspecies being another hit for Full Moon Features, it was clear that a sequel was indeed needed. So, two years later, Full Moon released Bloodstone: Subspecies II picking up directly after the conclusion of the first chapter. Because this is being featured on this blog, and the dreaded specter of the Angel series still haunting me, you better believe there are casting changes here.
(And yes, that Angel specter is still constantly reminding me there is a fourth film I have yet to cover. It haunts my dreams, man. It’s a constant reminder of my failings in life. This devilish Angel will not be appeased until I finally cover it. Just hold tight and I will get there in time. In fact, sooner than you know.)
If you read last week’s look at the start of the series, you know I already have spoiled the beginning of this movie. To be fair, I had it spoiled for me too because, while I have seen the first Subspecies, I only know the sequels from their memorable box art from the years I spent working at a video store in the mid to late 90s. However, it does help illustrate a couple things. First, and foremost, Full Moon did not make a Subspecies I with the thought in mind that they would be guaranteed to make Subspecies II. While there was a stinger at the end that teased a possibility that Radu wasn’t dead, everyone involved was satisfied they were making a solid direct-to-video movie.
Okay, let’s kick things off. We now have a new Michele in the form of Denice Duff. Also, a new character, Michele’s sister, Becky, is along for the ride and played by Melanie Shatner. Yup! William fuckin’ Shatner’s daughter is in our next couple Subspecies movies! Anders Hove is back as Radu. He remains constant for all four of the movies. Oh yeah, that other thing I wanted to illustrate:
Loverboy Stefan the vampire is completely fucking worthless.
Michele recaps the first movie in a brief voice over explaining that she loved worthless dude, got tainted by a monster man, and said monster man killed all her friends. Then comes the Subspecies re-positioning Radu’s bits so that his head will reattach to his body. So that entire 83 minute run time of the first movie? For naught. He lives again and finds his bro’s casket and… Look, I keep saying that Stefan is a fucking loser, and here is why:
Before the 5 minute mark, Stefan is deadsville. Also, there’s a bit of a change in how things are done in this movie too. Previously, you had to stake the vampire, then cut off his head, then you like boil his innards or something. Now, he stakes Stefan and he boils and melts and goes poof with just a stabby stab of a big stick. Radu actually had that stabby stick in his body at the end of the previous movie AND had his head lopped off. That leaves only one resolution to all this mess:
Stefan is a total fucking loser vampire.
However, the whole point in killing Stefan and such is missed by Radu, too. When he opened Stefan’s casket to kill him, it was so he can take the Bloodstone from his melty, skeletal hands, and keep it for himself. He did not do that. He killed Stefan, went to kill Michele, but ran out of time thanks to the sun coming up and had to retreat to his casket. So Radu is, by all accounts, also a total loser vampire.
I will give the production big ups, though, for one thing. They definitely did well with continuity. The locations are all the same. There even seemed to be effort to make sure the bodies from the end of the first movie were properly laid out and look at least something like what we saw at the end of the movie. So, kudos, movie! Your continuity is pretty rad. Well, okay, sure, Denice Duff has long curly hair and Laura Tate had the literal opposite – straight, short hair. But that would be…
Anyway… Michele has taken off for Bucharest with the Bloodstone. I could question what she will do for sleep considering she is now way the fuck over there and her casket and where she was turned into a vampire is way the fuck over here, but again… I will just let it ride. Sequels can often change some rules and such – like with how a stabby stab through the chest was enough for fuckboy Stefan to completely disintegrate. I mean rules change and he is completely worthless, but… I digress.
Michele gets in contact with Becky and she begs for her sis to come out and get her so she can come home. She gets a room at a hotel and waits for Becky to get there. Meanwhile, Radu does what any reasonable, insane, stalker vampire will do – chill out by the gates looking in with insane-o murder face.
I can also say I have never, ever stood outside a lady’s hotel window staring up at said window creepily while trying to obtain an ancient artifact. In no way, shape, or form was that why my last girlfriend left me.
Another interesting rule change I see in this sequel is that survivor girl, and lead protagonist for the entire series, Michele, now will do full frontal nude shower scenes while crying. I guess that’s one way to get people accustomed to a new lead actress. It’s kind of like when you have a girlfriend leave you for staring creepily at her hotel window after you’ve followed her from a village way the hell out in the country to the city. You go out, and find a new girlfriend that you can stare at through an iron fence. It’s kind of weird at first, but then you see her completely naked, crying in the shower, and, suddenly, you are fully on board. Who cares if you aren’t sure if you should be watching her take a shower or that she is deeply saddened by some traumatic experience… probably related to you staring at her hotel window while looking like a crazy monster man. Either way, it’s now super easy to completely forget about ol’ whatsherface from before.
So while Michele washes the creepy and regret from her soft, supple body, Radu takes the opportunity to visit his mother. I mean, when in Bucharest and all… Anyway, “Mummy” is a walking, talking piece of beef jerky who really wants that Bloodstone. She does some sort of spell and tells him he needs to “go back to Crackerbox Palace where they will be expecting you” and burn the dead bodies around and cast the ashes off to the north winds or something. If he doesn’t, then Crackerbox Palace may have no choice but to deport him.
(Gosh, I’m really leaning heavy into that George Harrison reference from last week. But seriously, “Crackerbox Palace” is a wonderful song.)
The next day, Michele is having some problems with the daylight. She goes to hide in the tub from the morning sun. The maids discover her sleeping there and she’s mistaken for dead. The cops come, bag her up, and take her away. They also discover the Bloodstone among her things. While the meat wagon drives off, Michele wakes up and in the evening light, she’s able to get out and run off.
So far, in the first 30 minutes of this movie, Denice Duff has looked scared, frightened, braless, scared shitless, dead, terrified, sad, and naked. Poor girl has been through the ringer. At least she’ll do shower scenes, I suppose. And let me watch said shower scenes.
The point I’m trying to make in the most slimy and smarmy way possible is that outside her reading off that voice over at the beginning, we don’t know her in this movie. If you rented this movie without seeing the first, you have no reference for her at all. You just assume she’s mostly mute and mostly doesn’t wear undergarments. She almost comes off as an accidental hero or the protagonist by default, and that’s kind of unfair to her character seen in the first installment. Sure, Karl and fuckboy Stefan were mostly in charge of trying to do stuff to stop Radu, but Michele was fairly headstrong and had best intentions always in mind. I kind of feel like I get that she’s scared and unsure of what to do, but I would like to have seen her be a little more proactive in sorting out her situation and getting a grip before calling her sister and sobbing over the phone.
That said, I think we need a Shatner to come in and help progress this movie along!
Becky arrives in Romania and tries to find her sister. Naturally, the hotel staff wants nothing to do with telling her how they thought Michele was dead, then she wasn’t, and now they don’t fucking know where she’s at. I mean… I make way more than a 1993 Romanian hotel clerk and I don’t think I make enough money to deal with that shit.
Notice something odd about Becky? Like something that you almost have to ask yourself when she shows up? Doesn’t Melanie Shatner look more like Laura Tate than Denice Duff? Like, did they cast Melanie Shatner in comparison to Tate only to find out she wasn’t coming back? Couldn’t they have cast her as Michele? Or did they really need Denice Duff to be in the buff in the shower? This is the shit that drives me nuts, man. I am not going to be able to see Melanie Shatner without thinking about this for the rest of the movie.
But wait! What’s this?
Okay, so Melanie Shatner WILL do the shower scene. Okay, we don’t see her in the full nude or nothing, but she’s behind a nearly see-through shower curtain. Holy shit. So what’s up with that, Full Moon? Did you HAVE to see Michele’s boobs in that scene while she’s crying and freaking out over the hell that has become her life? Why not just cast Shatner as Michele and just pull in tight on her during that scene, or… You know, not have that happen in the shower? You wouldn’t have that much of a difference in the character’s looks. Denice Duff could have been Becky.
Oh whatever. I’m not even halfway through this movie and I’ve already chewed up like 75% of last week’s word count.
Alright, so Becky is searching for Michele, and Michele is learning that she’s got a bloodlust now that she’s been separated from the Bloodstone. Becky and Mel Thompson, an agent from the US Embassy, meet up with a scholar who knows about the business that Michele, Lillian, and Mara were in Romania for in the previous movie. They go to the fortress where they stayed to try to retrace Michele’s steps and learn more about the Bloodstone. They don’t find anyone though, but they find Crackerbox Palace.
As a side note, Mel Thompson is played by Kevin Blair. A few years before this, he was the leading man in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. He was one of the few openly gay actors to lead a mainstream, franchise horror movie. Good on him.
This professor guy, Mel, and Becky snoop around Crackerbox Palace and even go inside. I have a question… What are they looking for exactly? I mean as of a few days before this, literally, King George Harrison was knocking around the place. Are they expecting to find Michele or him or what? This professor apparently has his own entrance he uses to go in and he’s a big wig as it pertains to local lore, but… Is he pals with the King? Is the King not supposed to have been around? But everyone in town knew Stefan and wasn’t too happy that shenanigans were happening around the festival in the previous movie. My head hurts.
Okay, here’s the situation. Radu comes out and says, “You dare enter my father’s house?” The prof says he was told the place was abandoned. So I guess the King wasn’t supposed to have been there. In a very odd maneuver, Radu allows them to leave. I would have figured he would have just, like, I dunno, slaughtered them? But I guess he has a plan. He follows them back to town and Becky and Mel drop the prof off. He says they will meet again the next day and he’ll see if he can dig up some more info. I suspect Radu is gonna get rid of that guy who seems to know too much.
Back in Bucharest, Becky sees Michele. Scared, for some reason, Michele runs away. Becky chases her and eventually stops her. Becky shows her the Bloodstone. Michele reclaims the artifact and sees Radu watching them. Michele runs off again leaving Becky pretty confused about what the fuck is going on around here.
And I don’t blame her. After all, it was Michele who called her up and begged her to come all the fuck out to Romania to bring her home. Becky does that and what does she find? Weirdo castles, monster man, and a sister who basically says she can’t tell her what’s going on and she’s gotta leave. Michele, babe, you’re being awfully confusing.
Michele takes a hit off the Bloodstone and seems a little more lucid. Radu shows up and basically tells her that if she agrees to be with him, things are gonna be great. If not, it will be eternal torment or some such shit. I’m not really sure what his plan is. I figure he could basically kill her real easy like, but I dunno. Maybe he likes watching her shower. Either way, he gets the Bloodstone from Michele and takes it back to his Mummy. Realizing he seems to be perplexed by something, Mummy asks Radu what’s wrong. And here it is… Radu hungers for love. Ugh… So I guess he does want to keep Michele around for naked shower shows and what have you.
But here’s the thing, Radu… I get that Michele is pretty and, sure, she’s got nice tits and she seemingly trims her bush and what have you. I mean you and I both watched that same shower. But dude, you had both Lillian AND super hottie Mara. You wasted those babes by using them in your dumb plot in the last movie. I can’t get behind you fucking this up too.
The next day, you realize that Radu is quickly turning into a fuckboy too because he followed the professor back to his house only to not kill him. How do I know that? BECAUSE MEL AND BECKY ARE AT HIS PLACE AND HE’S GIVING UP THE GOODS ON THE VAMPIRES AND THE BLOODSTONE! Dude! You needed to get rid of that dude. But whatever… I guess Michele’s super power is making everyone a totally useless fuckboy.
While this movie isn’t all that bad, not a whole lot has happened. At least nothing all that scary. At least with the first film, there are some atmospheric stuff going on in rural Romania and Radu seemingly was a fairly imposing foe. Here, he just watches people. In fact, a lady literally made of beef jerky told him to just go home and make a bonfire and not come back for a few days. What the actual fuck, man? It’s mostly Michele trying to cope with being a vampire and Becky trying to find her and figure out why she’s so weird now.
Oh, and there’s Radu desire for looooove.
While I was complaining that not much has happened and Radu was slowly being defeated by the power of love, Michele totally killed a man. Yeah, feeling that bloodlust, she goes to a heavy metal club, finds a guy, decides to hookup with him, and then feeds on his lifeblood that ultimately kills him. Covered in blood, Michele calls Becky which prevents Radu from biting Becky, so he even fails at that by trying to figure out where the best place to taste Shatner blood would be. (We all know it is the bicep because Shatners are awesome and so are muscles.)
So, Becky goes to meet Michele and Radu follows them. Michele only sorta explains that she’s basically a murderer now before Radu shows up and whisks Michele away. They find a little place to spend the day before going back to Crackerbox Palace.
I dunno, man… I kinda feel like everyone is wildly out of their depths to be able to solve anything here. Michele is still utterly incapable of doing much because she needs to feast on the living and sleep all day. Becky is still real new to all this. The professor knows the legends but he doesn’t seem like he can do much because he’s old and mostly drunk. Mel doesn’t believe in anything. Mummy seems to not be able to move all that well because she is beef jerky. Radu? Well… He was told to grab pine during the bulk of the movie when he needed to be on the field of play. I dunno where this is going and I’m not sure I will believe anything happening here in the final 10 minutes of movie.
Here we go… Professor Jim Beam and Becky go into the crypt where Radu and Michele sleep. Prof goes to stake Radu, but is impaled by Mummy who makes off with Becky. Holy fuck, that was a complete failure. A little later, Michele wakes up to hear Mummy cackling and Becky struggling. Radu and Mummy are chaining Becky down to a table to apparently turn her into a vampire like he did with Michele’s buddies. Or maybe just to feed on her. I dunno, but Michele isn’t really having it. She grabs a dagger and stabs Radu in the eye before he can bite Becky. Michele then literally lights Mummy on fire, which seems like one of the easiest things that could ever be done. Radu isn’t quite done yet, but Michele keeps stabbing him until she gets him in enough places that he finally seemingly dies, even though he comes back and has to be staked by Becky.
But this is a whole month of these movies so you know this isn’t the end of him. Plus, he didn’t melt like fuckboy Stefan did. When the girls try to flee the crypt, it is still daylight out so Michele can’t leave with Becky. Mummy, after putting herself out, grabs Michele and drags her deeper into the crypt. And that’s that! We’re told Bloodlust: Subspecies III will be coming soon.
You know what? It is coming soon! Next week, but before I put the wraps on this, I feel like this shouldn’t have had Subspecies II as the subtitle. You know why? The Subspecies only appeared in the first 2 minutes of the movie. Ain’t that some shit? There used to be these little goblin minion guys, but they got swapped out for a beef jerky lady and vampire shenanigans. That’s disappointing. I’ll be really disappointed if we don’t see any in any of the following movies.
There we have it. Come back next week for the third Subspecies Month entry, Bloodlust: Subspecies III!