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John’s Horror Corner: Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998), squandering an otherwise great vampire DVD franchise with a messy story and no new effects.

March 10, 2016

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MY CALL: Parts 1 and 2 were great for direct-to-DVD, and part 3 lost some inertia but remained a fun franchise installment. However, with no cool effects and a messy story, part 4 felt just plain lazy. I wish they never made it. And that’s hard for me to say as an otherwise huge fan of the franchise. <<apathetic shrug>> MORE MOVIES LIKE Subspecies 4: Hopefully you saw Subspecies (1991), Subspecies II (1993), and perhaps Subspecies III: Bloodlust (1994).  ALTERNATE TITLE: Subspecies 4: Awakening.

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Is he…reaching for her boob???

After a major refresher montage of pretty much every scene and special effect of the franchise, we pick up right where Subspecies III: Bloodlust (1994) ended with a barbequed Radu not dead because Michelle (Denice Duff; Subspecies IIIV, Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation) and her rescuers had left the bloodstone behind. So Radu (Anders Hove; Subspecies I-IV, Critters 4) scrambles away to regenerate as Michelle, now a fully initiated vampire, is taken to a hospital where a vampire-knowledgeable doctor (Mihai Dinvale; Blood and Chocolate, Dark Angel: The Ascent) claims he can cure her ancient malady!

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He looks as confused and disappointed as I was with this movie.

I’m sorry to say that this fourth installment is far less interesting than its predecessors. Lt. Marin (Ion Haiduc; Subspecies II-IV, Dark Angel: The Ascent, Mimic: Sentinel), my least favorite character from part 3, returns and contributes nothing of value as one of Radu’s recent weak creations. Adding to the needlessly complex plot, the doctors are more interested in researching the bloodstone than helping Michelle, another of Radu’s fledglings and his protégé conspire against Radu, the doctor is himself a vampire, Michelle suddenly has a soft spot for Radu…it’s just too much and it keeps us from getting into any one plot element. There’s too much going on for it to develop into anything. This is all on top of the base storyline of Radu trying to reclaim Michelle under his wing. Haven’t we had enough of that yet with the last two films??? <<sigh>>

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Behold, the most farcical moment in the franchise thus far.
BARF!  We get it.  The sun doesn’t hurt you, but you’ll ironically put on sunglasses.

The special effects seem a less frequent (than parts I-III) as well. We see lots of shadow walking (which is no longer interesting or impressive really), I still have a love-hate relationship with Radu’s gangly fingers and there are a few blood feedings, but outside of the introductory footage from part 3 and a couple of beheadings there are no cool effects. What the Hell? Nothing comes even remotely close to the neat claymation of Radu’s minions or Radu’s head reattaching itself a la The Thing (1982) with arterial tendrils whipping from his detached head and affixing themselves to his body to drag his head into place as his spinal cord extends outward to receive it…AWESOME EFFECT from Subspecies II. Where was all that? It seems that both the writing and special effects were left behind on this one.

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Yes, by all means. Cut off the head of this wretched film!
And…doesn’t he look a tad like Willem Dafoe?

Parts 1 and 2 were pretty damn good–great, in fact, for direct-to-DVD releases. Then with Subspecies III: Bloodlust (1994) director Ted Nicolaou (Subspecies I-III, Terror Vision, Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys) lost the inertia that started this franchise so powerfully–but part 3 was still a fun franchise installment. However, part 4 felt just plain lazy. No cool effects and a messy story. I wish they never made it. And that’s hard for me to say as an otherwise huge fan of the franchise. <<apathetic shrug>>

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Another look of disappointment.
She looks like Helena Bonham Carter from Fight Club…
But Fight Club came out a year LATER!
Mind = BLOWN!

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