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I had seen the first four movies here, the first two of which I owned on VHS many years ago and my DVD-R copies needed a rest so this box-set was an ideal opportunity to watch them again in sequence.
The first Subspecies sees three female students staying in an old house just as the vampire master Radu returns to his ancestral home, he soon has his eye on one of them. The Subspecies are the creatures that spring from Radu's blood and the effects are pretty well handled here.
Subspecies II sees the surviving student Michelle, now played by Denice Duff for the next 3 movies, escaping from Radu and fleeing to Bucharest where she is joined by her sister Rebecca (Melanie Shatner) it has a decent open ending as Rebecca tries to save her sister from Radu and his minions.
Subspecies III sees Rebecca, a Romanian policeman she has befriended and a low-level McGyver type trying to rescue Michelle in an "assault" on the castle.
Subpecies IV is set in a clinic where the mad doctor uses Michelle to trap Radu for his own use, this adds some clever twists to the series and has some suitably over the top hammy acting that fits in quite well.
The last movie Vampire Journals is the odd one out. It looks into the background of some of the vampires, not Radu though. It is atmospheric, grim, seedy and erotic, what more do you want from a vampire movie?
The negative points, I would have preferred the original covers and not the trimmed down versions; each film has a 10 minute or so "making of" featurette where the crew are generally shown goofing around but commentaries would have been nicer.
All in all a decent effort, in "making of Vampire Journals" director Ted Nicolaou even hinted of making another in the series but, as the last of these films was from 1998, it looks like that idea was shelved.
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on 17 September 2010
I was delighted to know that this had been released - for a long time I had wished to see the rest of the Subspecies series, having only previously viewed the first two films and the spin off the Vampire Journals - and I bought this - the discs in my version are region free - and that was a pleasant surprise since it was ordered from the US.

The Subspecies films themselves are the main attraction though, as they chronicle the lives of vampires and victims around the beautiful locales of Bucharest (the other star of the series, besides the deliciously malevolent and yet pathetic Radu, as played superbly by Anders Hove, and his unwilling paramour Michelle - as played by Laura Tate in the first film and then by the gorgeous Denice Duff in the sequels.

These movies are almost wrong to call horror movies - if anything, they are very much a classic fairy tale with the Gothic flavourings enhancing rather than detracting from the tale overall - though they do lose their way with the later films.

The first two films are far superior to the following sequels, because the fairy tale atmosphere is at it's most prevalent but III and IV (also known as Bloodstorm:Subspecies 4) have their moments.

Vampire Journals is loosely tied into Subspecies Part 4 (and was made first I think), but can be certainly enjoyed on it's own merit - it's not for those who like high budgets, action fights and copious bloodletting as you'd expect from Blade - this is more for old school vampire film lovers - a film that Hammer enthusiasts or fans of Interview With the Vampire may enjoy - a sumptuous old school Gothic story, with some gorgeous costumes, locations, a charming vampire villain in Ash - a music loving vampire who steals away an unwitting pianist to make his consort - with the only person to stop him, a self-loathing vampire named Zachary who wishes to end not only his own misery, but his entire vampiric bloodline - in a battle of wits.

The music in it is beautiful too, melancholic, melodic and sets the decadent, yet ancient mood perfectly.

The extras feature little snippets of the making of the films, and of some other films from the Full Moon stable - the company which helped these films be made and released during the 90's.

One thing of interest I found amusing was when the Romanian actors were asked if they believed in Count Dracula, and they considered that he was a fiction created by ignorant Americans for the movies (and showed their own ignorance, in that the character was actually invented by an Irishman, inspired by Eastern European history, as well as the horror tales of his contemporaries).

It's a shame that the soundtracks for the films weren't included on an extra disc, but if you like intelligent, old style Gothic horror, with a hint of low budget gore and some beautiful women to be lusted over by a truly repulsive vampire - then Subspecies: The Epic Collection is for you.
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on 1 February 2010
After many years of old 4.3 VHS I was delighted to see Charlie Band's particular brand of horror finally emerge on DVD. Though fare such as 'Phantoms', 'Dollman' and 'Puppermaster' have been available (at a pinch) for years, me and my sister (a fellow collector) often found ourselves wondering what happened to 'Subspecies' now that satellite/regional re-runs seem to be a thing of the past. Well, horror fans if you thought the same thing, here's your answer - Full Moon's marvellous box-set of all 'Subspecies' films including the semi-sequel 'Vampire Journals'. Reviewing the material, only the first film had an animated menu and trailer, though all five films offer their original 'Gorezone' promos which contain some exciting behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. As well as the requisite widescreen transfers, there is also a bit of business about the Full Moon Co's catalogue of goodies and website etc. This may seem short on extras, but they're well made and VERY entertaining So, if you fancy a mini-marathon of nostalgic vampire mayhem over Subway and ice-cream, go for this, its worth it!
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Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and now I am going through a same process of upgrading everything to DVD. This also gives me the excuse to sample films of the genre which have appeared over the past 20 years and had not been added to my film library.

I had watched the first four movies when visiting family in Canada in 2001 but never did buy a set for my collection of horror films and had not previously watched `Vampire Journals' and so when I bought this set it was a treat to watch the complete set over a couple of late nights... I am old enough to need very little sleep but young enough to get bored when I am awake and spend most nights either watching movies or reading.

The stories have been adequately described in other reviews and so I will not repeat them again. The whole series was a joint American-Romanian venture conceived and directed by Ted Nikolaou and was shot on-location in Romania, utilizing stop-motion and rod puppet techniques and overlays to achieve the characterisation the director wanted for the vampires and creatures which resulted in a quite spectactular presentation for the films era and gives the series a quite unique atmosphere unlike most other films of the time.

All the characters are very memorable although of the mostly unknown cast only Anders Hove, Denise Duff and Melanie Shatner are probably well known in the UK.
Overall a good collection with a few novelty extras, mostly advertising and a couple of rather vague interviews.

I enjoyed the films which were never released to the cinema and are only available on disc in the UK. I do not believe these films were ever released in Region 2, but as most modern players are multi-region the Region 1 discs should play on most equiment.
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on 22 October 2010
My compliments to Director Ted Nicolaou, he made wonderful Danish Actor, Anders Hove world famous!
I have always loved Subspecies for Anders Hove and Denice Duff's performance.
Originally in the first draft of Subspecies, written by Ted Nicolau, there where no subspecies in it! Imagine these great films with out the little guys! It was Producer Charles Band who Suggested to Mr. Nicolaou, that he should rewrite the script and include these little minions. Manny properly know of Charlies long time fondness for little creatures. Back in the late 1999, if memory Serves me Correctly, there was talk about re-releasing the first film in widescreen, this was around the time of Full Moon's collapse. The transfer was superwised by Tempe Entertainment founder J.R Bookwalter, but unfortunately never released. I cross my fingers for, that one day the legal formalities will be sorted out and this great film, will get a widescreen release!
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on 5 December 2010
A wonderful if little known franchise, this saga about the vampire "Radu" and his evil quest to capture and enslave the girl of his dreams is although low budget an absolute joy to watch.

It's pretty much done the old fashioned way with spooky locations and lots of mist, atmospheric music helps it along too.

Today you can't turn on T.V. without yet another vampire show appering and the cinemas are full of them too so it's nice to see that this 80s horror movie and worthy sequals is still doing the rounds.
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on 20 June 2012
this review is about the box set and discs not the movies themselves. 1st movie menu screen is in another language, not just that the movie itself has no sound only background music. 2nd movie doesn't play atall. 3rd cuts out half way through and becomes pixelated. Now I am aware that NOT ALL experience this but this was for mine. I heard alot of stories of others experiencing problems with this set.
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