Blu-ray Review "Subspecies: The Blu-ray Collection Volume 1"

subspecies-bluStarring: Anders Hove, Denise Duff, Angus Scrimm
Director: Ted Nicolaou
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Full Moon Pictures
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 270 minutes

The Blu-ray Collection Volume 1: 3.5 out of stars
Subspecies Blu-ray: 2 out of 5 stars
Subspecies Extras: 1 out of 5 stars
Bloodstone: Subspecies II Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Bloodstone: Subspecies II Extras: 3 out of 5 stars
Bloodlust: Subspecies III Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Bloodlust: Subspecies III Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

One of the best series to come out of Full Moon has easily been “Subspecies” to date. The series ran for the better part of the 90’s with three sequels and a spin-off   This volume one Blu-ray collection includes “Subspecies”, “Bloodstone: Subspecies II” and “Bloodlust: Subspecies III”. I am assuming there will be a second volume in the cards with the “Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm” and “The Vampire Journals” to work up the series (at least untill Subspecies 5, you here that Charlie!). The series creates one of our great villains, the vampire Radu Vladislas, portrayed by Anders Hove. When you think of great vampire villains, I always come back to Radu. The scripts are not perfect and the acting is decent at best but these films are classics. Full Moon is relatively new to the format of Blu-ray, with only a few “Puppet Master” films getting the treatment.  For the slim price at around the price of one standard Blu-ray, if you are a fan of the series then this is a really a steal.

“Subspecies”: Three students studying the folklore of Transylvania uncover more than they anticipated when they stumble upon a clan of vampires ruled by the monstrous Radu. The sadistic vampire becomes obsessed with making them his fledglings and pursues them relentlessly. Wielding the power of the Bloodstone, a relic that drips the blood of the saints, Radu and his subspecies – a pack of small, sinister creatures – give the girls a true understanding of the local mythology.

“Bloodstone: Subspecies II” In the second installment of the Subspecies series, Radu’s fledgling and love interest, Michelle, flees from his castle with the holy relic – the Bloodstone. Meanwhile, as a new vampire, Michelle struggles with her emerging bloodlust. To escape Radu, she hides in the basement of a theater in Bucharest, waiting for her sister to arrive from the US to help her – before it’s too late. “Bloodlust: Subspecies III” – Bloodlust brings the third coming of Radu, who captures his fledgling, Michelle, and returns her to the castle he shares with his sorceress mother. Radu teaches Michelle how to master her vampire powers. Meanwhile, Michelle’s sister, Becky, plans an armed assault on Radu’s stronghold. She is determined to save her sister’s soul – and this time she’s brought some help.

Since the Blu-ray release for “Subspecies” was for the 20th anniversary, originally released in 2011, it really doesn’t feel like it comes with the anniversary treatment. The high-def Blu-ray only clocks in at 1080i transfer and feels a little flat. This still looks much better than past DVDs but not up to standard for Blu-ray. I mean there is massive noise throughout the scenes and the colors are very shaky. I also have a real big issue with the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. Since suppose to be Blu-ray high-definition, the track is far from it. It sounds fine but I would have loved to seen them upgrade this film to a a 5.1 surround track for this release. In fact the Blu-ray box boasts all three films as full HD and 5.1 surround sound, which is not the case for this film.

“Bloodstone: Subspecies II” & “Bloodlust: Subspecies III” again takes the correct path for a proper Blu-ray presentation. Since this films were shot many years ago and on a very low budget, they are still represented quite well here. Both films have very nice 1080p transfers (unlike “Subspecies”).  There is some noise interference around the color black but besides that they both have pretty sharp transfers. Also both films also have good 5.1 surround tracks.  They are not perfect but they are a nice step up from “Subspecies” and at least they represent the high-definition of the Blu-ray much better.

“Subspecies” is also a big disappointment in the special features department. There is an original VideoZone episode, which I enjoyed…but that is it. There are no other extras besides some Full Moon Trailers. Luckily, the special features for “Bloodstone: Subspecies II” & “Bloodlust: Subspecies III” improves quite a bit in that area. The extras are mirrored for both films including “Making Subspecies: The Recollections of Ted Nicolaou, Anders Hove and Denise Duff” is a great revisit from the director and cast from the film. Both films include an equally entertaining audio commentary again from the trio; Nicolaou, Hove and Duff. Some topics are revisited from the making-of feature but still worth checking out. “Killer Subspecies Montage” is a fun collection of clips from this series. Lastly, there are  also original VideoZones episodes included for the sequels, as well as additional Full Moon Trailers included.

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