Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 24th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1991
Director: Ted Nicolaou
Writers: Jackson Barr, David Pabian
Cast: Angus Scrimm, Anders Hove, Irina Movila, Laura Mae Tate, Michelle McBride, Ivan J. Rado, Mara Grigore, Adrian Vâlcu, Michael Watson, Lili Dumitrescu, Ion Besoiu
BluRay released: March 18th, 2013
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
BluRay Release: 88 Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £11.00
Subspecies was directed by Ted Nicolaou, who other notable films include, TerrorVision and Assault of the Killer Bimbos.
With the straight to video boom from the 1980′s changed the landscape of cinema forever. Where there was once a healthy market for B grade cinema, which were often paired with a stronger and in most cases A grade picture. This type of pairing all but vanished from cinema’s by the early part of the 1980′s. This shift also lead to what was once called B grade pictures, now being churned out at a higher rate and at a much lower cost than ever before. These film’s can be best summed up as Z grade cinema, film’s that often scrap the bottom of the barrel content and quality wise. One of these purveyors of this new found medium was the film studio Full Moon Entertainment and they are the one’s responsible for the movie Subspecies.
Content wise, Subspecies can be best summed up as a schlocky hybrid of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre. Unfortunately all of the things which make these two film’s bona-fide classics of the silver screen, is missing from Subspecies. The predictable narrative is a ever slight retelling of the type of vampire mythos’s which have been explored in countless other films. The crude special effects and gore set pieces always call attention to themselves and not in a flattering way. And at just over eighty minutes the film’s inconsistent pacing, make this film feel much longer than it actually is.
Performance wise the cast are best describe as serviceable. With the most enjoyable performance coming from Anders Hove in the role of this film main villain a sadistic vampire named Radu. Though it is nothing more than a cameo, actor Angus Scrimm (Phantasm) makes a very brief appearance in the film. Ultimately under the influence and in the right frame of mind, Subspecies can be a mildly entertaining horror film for all the wrong reasons.
Subspecies comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look good, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. Overall though not reference quality this transfer looks very good considering the limitations of the source materials.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Stereo mix in English. The audio mix sounds very good as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 17 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), cast & crew interviews (8 minutes 38 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a segment tiled ‘Killer Montage’ (1 minute 45 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a vintage featurette titled ‘Videozone’ (9 minutes 56 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and an audio commentary with producer Charles Band and moderator Chris Gore. The extras, especially the audio commentary do a great job covering the various areas of this production. Also included with this release is a collection of trailers for other Full Moon films. Overall Subspecies gets a well rounded release from 88 Films.
Note: This film is also being released by 88 Films on DVD.