Things are not always what they appear. You know that good-looking but slightly pale guy you met at the club the other night, who didn’t drink wine and who mysteriously ran off just before sunrise? He might be a vampire. And you know that DVD I, Vampire: Trilogy of Blood that promises three movies’ worth of vampire scares? It might be a total rip-off.
• Spawn of Hell
Two doctors rescue a newly-undead vampire named Michelle (B-movie queen Denice Duff), and, with her help, they set out to recover an all-powerful artifact called the Bloodstone from the vampire lord, Radu (Anders Hove).
• From the Grave
After roaming the Earth for 100 years, a vampire (James Horan) discovers the modern-day reincarnation of his former love (Denice Duff again, who also produced and directed). As their romance blossoms, the two must first confront her vengeful ex-husband and her superstitious aunt.
• Undead Evil
A beautiful young piano virtuoso (Kirsten Cerre) is held captive by a powerful vampire, Ash (Jonathan Morris) in his mansion with the rest of his evil vampire clan. Zachary (David Gunn) is a do-gooder vampire who sets out to rescue the girl before Ash can transform her into his undead bride.
OK, this could get confusing, so try to keep up. These films are not originals; they’re edited-down versions of previously-existing movies. Spawn of Hell was originally Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm, made in 1998. That’s right, this disc begins with part four of another series. From the Grave was originally Song of the Vampire, also known as Vampire Resurrection, made in 2001. Undead Evil was originally Vampire Journals, made in 1997. Prior to this, these three films were features, at about 90 minutes each, but on this disc, they’ve been edited down to 30 minutes each, and spliced together as a “trilogy.”
Shameless. Absolutely shameless. I can’t believe someone had the nerve to take three full-length movies, hack out two-thirds from each one, and then package them together as something new. What is the attitude here? That no one will be able to tell? I could tell something was up right away when I couldn’t sort out which character was which. Maybe the makers of this DVD thought no one would care, because these are only cheesy B-movies. Well, enough people must have cared about the Subspecies series in order for there to be three sequels. No, instead, this stinks of a quick cash grab. Producers looked at some horror films they have in their vaults, and decided to make a few extra dollars by tricking consumers into thinking these are movies they’ve never seen.
Don’t let yourself be tricked.
So how are the movies themselves, based on what little of them is seen here? Subspecies 4 would seem to pick up right where the third one left off, so I’m guessing that newcomers might be confused even by the full-length version. I’ll admit I’m curious enough to want to start from part one, just to see what the fuss is about. Also, Denice Duff is lovely. Vampire Resurrection is more romance than horror. It seems the target is possibly women who wish an eternally hunky man would come out of nowhere and take them away from their miserable lives. Also, Denice Duff is still lovely, and shows some genuine skill as a director. Vampire Journals would appear to be the best of the bunch, with a lot of cool gothic visuals, and vampires making grand, poetic speeches like they used to in Marvel Comics’ Tomb of Dracula back in the day (that’s a compliment). Denice Duff doesn’t appear in this one, but Kirsten Cerre is an adorable brunette if there ever was one.
The full frame picture is nice, with bright and vivid colors, and no defects to be seen. The 2.0 sound is mostly good, although some of the dialogue in Subspecies 4 came out a little distorted. For extras, there are just two other trailers for two more “trilogies” that appear to be the same “cut-up movies” mentality that’s here. I recognized clips from the tongue-in-cheek gorefest The Dead Hate the Living in one trailer.
This DVD and a real vampire have one trait in common: They’re both something you should avoid at all costs.