I d'know, this one just didn't grab me like the wonderful second and third
films of the series. Maybe I'm not quite sure the crossover with Full Moon's
other fang epic, "Vampire Journals", worked smoothly, or maybe I'm reacting
to the loss of several of the series regulars. But Huff and Hove are again
just terrific as Michelle and Radu, with Ion Haiduc reprising the likable
role of Lt. Marin (with a twist!); and the creepy Vitalis Institute, where
vampires are strapped to tables and experimented on like lab rabbits, is a
nasty notion indeed.
The big payoff of this one for fans of the series, though, has to be Radu's unswerving devotion to Michelle, and seeing it *finally* returned by her, however briefly. Michelle desires to be cured of her vampirism but is terrified by the Institute's agonizing treatments, and Radu, hearing her psychic cry for help, instantly shadows to her rescue. The moment in which he appears like an avenging spirit at the Institute's gate and swears, like Mick Jagger's Satan, to "lay your souls to waste" unless his fledgling is released, is simply magnificent. The real gem, though, is Michelle's own response on realizing she was used as bait to lure Radu into a trap. If you're like me and have been agonizing over their relationship through the first three movies, respecting her but aching with sympathy for her spurned paramour, you will just stand and applaud when you see and hear what she does. OK, it doesn't last, but it wouldn't be in character for her if it did; and for that moment I forgave her a lot of her past offenses against one of my all-time favorite vampires.
This ending sure looks final, but check out Ted Nicolaou's comments in the attached "FM Videozone"! There's hope!
(Postscript: by now we know that the term "Subspecies" refers not to vampires but to Radu's little blood-born servitors, who are responsible for several very timely rescues. We only know that, though, because we read the tape boxes/laserdisc sleeves; they're never called that name by anyone in any of the movies, and indeed are scarcely noticed or referred to at all. Wouldn't you think that if they're deemed important enough to name the entire series after, they should've gotten a little more attention by now?...)
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