BLOODLUST: SUBSPECIES III (1993)

"Now I have it all...don't I...pretty one?"

The heartbreaker, this one is, with scenes so bitterly poignant that they raise this movie well above the level of mere B-horror. It has a few minor disappointments - for some reason, the gorgeous shadow work of S-II has been largely replaced by animation which doesn't work half as well - but it's hardly worth even mentioning such things when we're dealing with performances as sublime as Hove and Duff's here. Some moments are almost comical (Radu, teaching Michelle to reach far afield with her undead senses by concentrating on cafe musicians in the town below, sniffs disdainfully, "The violinist is a disgrace") but most are far from it.

Denise Duff is just a marvel as Michelle, at the same time resisting vampirism and Radu with all her strength, and growing wonderfully in undead power and skill. When she completes her first teleport/shadow zoom Radu looks at her admiringly and calls her magnificent, and somehow, at that moment, they look a little bit alike. She is his fledgling whether she admits it or not; strong as she is, she's stronger for having had his will to struggle against.

And because of their strength and their struggle, we have scenes like these:

On the battlements of Castle Vladislas, just before dawn, Michelle asks if it's true that sunlight can kill them. Yes, it is. What else, she asks; "What else can kill a vampire?" in a tone that makes Radu turn slowly to look at her, sad and wary. His reply is careful, evasive: "Many things."

She touches his face, begs him to kill her; he's destroyed her already, she says. He tries to persuade her that these feelings will fade, but she's in despair. Radu makes his most desperate appeal:
"I love you, Michelle; I shall love you until the end of time. I offer you my most precious gift." With his long talons he draws his hair aside, baring his throat.

She can't resist; she drinks; and then she stares at him with such loathing for herself, for him, for what she's just done that he flinches back.
"I hate you," she says, bitterly, implacably. "I'll hate you for all eternity."
They both draw back from the rising dawn.

"We must go now," says Radu quietly, almost apologetically. "Our powers weaken with the light." And despite her words, he puts his arm around her to guide her inside.


Radu's mother has just ordered him for the dozenth time to kill Michelle, and Radu has had enough, "I have no master," he growls, rips Mummy apart and throws her into the fire. There's no triumph in it; he sinks into a chair and stares into the fireplace. His voice is exhausted and hopeless.

"I have it all now...don't I..." he says, adding with a pleading glance up to Michelle, "...pretty one?"

She does not reply, but begs for a taste of the Bloodstone. Radu refuses, saying she's not yet ready to handle the Stone's power, and goes on:
"I killed my mother...my father...my entire bloodline...for you. What will you grant me in return?"
"Forgiveness," she says steadily. "For all you've done to me."
Radu looks down into the fire. "There is not enough forgiveness in the universe," he says, "for all I've done."


I could go on, but you get the idea. This is no mere master and victim relationship but a doomed romance between a brave woman and a sad monster, "Beauty and the Beast" with fangs. It's classic. Show it to your friends who say they don't like vampire movies.

Trivia:
-- Interesting alternmate version of the family history here. We recall the one Stefan told in S-I, in which Dad was bewitched by a cunning sorceress; but now we read (via Mel) that the witch's family had long resided in the Castle we now know as Vladislas, and that the Vampire King seduced their daughter, disposed of the family and claimed the castle for his own. (and "he was the good guy," Mel notes.) Depends on who's telling the story, eh? So whose idea was Radu?...
Incidentally, both times we hear her name it sounds like "Circe", a good name for a witchgirl, and also an intriguing possible link to the Blade of Laertes.)
-- Note how often Radu appears bloody-mouthed even when he hasn't fed. I really do think he can't keep from cutting himself with those fangs...
--The scene in which Mummy and Radu exit the tomb with Michelle in a magickal cloud of smoke and fire, roaring incantations at the top of their lungs, is just marvelous!
--Silver bullets apparently do have power against vampires in the Subspecies universe.

...return to Blood of Saints.
...go on to Subspecies IV: Bloodstorm.