Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Know Your Vampire

Two American college students visit their Romanian friend in her home country to study history and somehow they don't anticipate meeting vampires. It turns out, there's a long history of humans and vampires existing together in 1991's Subspecies, the fun first film in a direct to video fantasy series.

This pale guy with the big hair (Angus Scrimm) is king of the vampires in Romania where centuries ago vampires bit the necks off a whole army of Turks threatening the people. Now, whatever the three young women might believe of what the old gypsy woman tells them, the vampires are allowed to live in the ruins of a nearby castle. They haven't attacked a human in centuries because of a stone they stole from the Vatican that continually produces blood.

At least, I think that's what the stone does. Maybe it grants extra strength, I'm not sure. Anyway, the king's killed in the first scene by his son, Radu (Anders Hove), whose makeup and costume make him look almost identical to Klaus Kinski in Herzog's remake of Nosferatu from twelve years earlier.

Except for the rock star hair. The film was shot in Romania using several actual ruins which gives the film a nice look. It clashes somewhat with the distinctly early 90s/late 80s synthesiser soundtrack but on the other hand, that's part of its charm, too. Radu's brother, Stefan (Michael Watson), is a good guy with a fuzzy black pompadour and he falls for Michele (Laura Tate), who, with the shortest, darkest, and most utilitarian hair is implicitly the most virtuous of the three women.

Though they all have the same taste in sweaters.

The two blondes are much more susceptible to Radu's charms. The Romanian woman, Mara (Irina Movila), has her clothes shredded to ribbons when she's captured while Michele is merely chained up. Mara is terrorised by the little demon creatures that Radu creates by cutting off his fingers.

They're the only genuinely weird part of the movie and I think they're kind of cool. They're created by stop motion is some shots and puppetry in others. They kind of remind me of the Master's creepy Auton doll from the Doctor Who story Terror of the Autons.

There are a few plot points that don't make sense--like why one character is buried among the ruins where Radu lives or why no-one killed Radu sooner when they knew where he slept--but mostly it's a nice fantasy adventure film.
Tags: halloween, horror, nosferatu, subspecies, vampire

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