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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Bloodstone: Subspecies II" )

 

directed by Ted Nicolaou
USA/Romania 1993

 

Taking off where SUBSPECIES left off (and thus, impossible to discuss without massive spoilers for the first film) as Radu (Anders Hove, TERRIBLY HAPPY) - resurrected with the help of his "subspecies" minions - stakes his half-brother Stefan (a briefly-glimpsed Michael Watson) in order to possess Michelle (Denice Duff, replacing Laura Tate from the first film for the remainder of the series' entries) who Stefan had transformed into a vampire to prevent her from being transformed into a more hideous type of vampire from Radu's initial bite. The rising sun forces Radu to seek shelter, and Michelle manages to rise before him at the next sunset and flee Castle Vladislas for Bucarest with the "Bloodstone" (a holy relic that drips the blood of the saints). Michelle calls her sister Becky (Melanie Shatner, CTHULHU MANSION) in America. Michelle hides from the sun in her hotel room by sleeping in the bathtub where the housekeeping discovers her. She is determined to be dead (she is a vampire after all, so she has no pulse or heartbeat) by Lt. Marin (Ion Haiduc, MANDROID) but she wakes up in the coroners van and causes it to crash. Becky arrives in Romania and learns of Michelle's disappearance from Marin and American Embassy Agent Mel Thompson (Kevin Blair, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD), leaving only the Bloodstone as a clue. Becky and Mel take it to Professor Popescu (Michael Denish, VAMPIRE JOURNALS) who had arranged for Michelle and her friends to stay at Prejnar in the previous film to explore the local vampire lore. As they search for Michelle and look into the legend behind the Bloodstone, Radu seeks counsel from his "Mummy" (Pamela Gordon, WEIRD SCIENCE), his mummified sorceress mother who advises him to destroy his fledgling Michelle to whom he has become attached. Meanwhile, Michelle hides in the city and tries to resist the urge to feed (particularly once Radu has taken the Bloodstone from her, believing that her bloodlust will bring her under his sway).

Shot just a year after the original
SUBSPECIES (and back-to-back with BLOODLUST: SUBSPECIES III), BLOODSTONE: SUBSPECIES II presents a significant advance over the first film. The three parallel stories of Michelle's growing vampiric urges, Radu's pursuit, and Becky's search do not detract from one another; instead, they keep up a brisk pace for the eighty-plus minute running time. The effects of Wayne Toth (Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN) and Michael Deak (TRON: LEGACY) - assisted by Norman Cabrera (DRAG ME TO HELL) - are more detailed and less rubbery than Greg Cannom's work; although their believability may also be enhanced by Vlad Paunescu's substantially moodier cinematography this time around (it's better lit and features more creative tracking, crane, and jib shots). In addition to Castle Hunyadi and the Prejnar fortress, director Ted Nicolaou has also picked out some atmospheric Bucharest locations (particularly the Atheneum Concert Hall where Michelle has set up a lair in a wardrobe room - justifying her striking changes of clothing - which features a prop "Snow White" glass coffin). The Bloodstone prop is also improved over the original one; however, the titular "subspecies" only make a brief appearance at the start of the film. Duff is a compelling replacement for the original actress, and Shatner, Blair, Haiduc, and Denish are all likable good guys. Hove is more menacing this time around, and Gordon's "mummy" mommy is a great addition (it's especially humorous when Radu whines "But mummy!"). The film ends on a cliffhanger that dovetails directly into the third series entry.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 26 May 1993 (USA)

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DVD Review: 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:23:03 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.88 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English DTS 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with director Ted Nicolau, actress Denice Duff, and actor Anders Hove
• Making SUBSPECIES: the recollections of Ted Nicolau, Anders Hove, and Denice Duff (8:37)
• Killer Montage (4:3; 1:44)
• VideoZone making-of (4:3; 20:00)
• Trailer (4:3; 1:43)
• Trailers for SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, CASTLE FREAK, THE DEAD WANT WOMEN, PUPPET
• MASTER III, TOURIST TRAP, ZOMBIES VS STRIPPERS, MANDROID, PUPPET MASTER, BEACH BABES
• FROM BEYOND, and CANNIBAL WOMEN IN THE AVOCADO JUNGLE OF DEATH

DVD Release Date: 18 March 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

88 Films had a better HD master to work with than for the original film, although the image is still a little soft and gritty (appropriate to the budget and the location shooting, but not quite the leap in quality when comparing the disc transfers of PUPPET MASTER and its two sequels). The colors are more vibrant than the tape/LD master used for the earlier releases, and the widescreen framing never impedes the compositions (including some nudity that always seemed like it would be matted out at the bottom of the frame). Optical shots, like the ones involving the subspecies stop-motion puppets early on, look significantly grainer (it' still the best the film has looked so far). In addition to the original Ultra-Stereo mix in Dolby Digital 2.0, the disc also includes a 5.1 upmix (in Dolby Digital and DTS, like their DVD of PUPPET MASTER III). The source used for this transfer is slightly different from the previous editions in that it contains a card before the closing credits that reads "Coming Soon BLOODLUST: SUBSPECIES III" whereas the older transfers just featured a stretch of black screen before the credits started rolling.

The new commentary with director Ted Nicolaou, actress Denice Duff, and actor Anders Hove is everything that the Charles Band commentary on the previous disc was not. The actors' and director's praise of the contributions of the cinematographer, costume designer (who gathered together some genuine vintage clothing that had to be sewn onto the actress since they had no zippers or snaps), production designer and art director (who festooned the ornate locations with a wealth of authentic props), effects artists (Wayne Toth and Norm Cabrera also double as rockers at the Bucharest disco, and camera operator Viorel Sergovici also plays Michelle's victim), and their fellow cast members (both the American co-stars and the local talent).

The VideoZone making-of runs just over 11 minutes, with the remainder made up of an interview with actress Tracey Scoggins (for the film "Dollman vs Demonic Toys"), a trailer for the film, as well as "Trancers III" and "Doctor Mordrid". Besides the feature trailer (which has not been anamorphically-upgraded like the trailer for the original on
SUBSPECIES disc), the disc also features trailers for ten other titles.

BLOODSTONE: SUBSPECIES II is also available from 88 Films on Blu-ray [HERE].

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

 

 


 




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