Full Moon is known primarily for a series of characters, their own low-budget Freddy Kreugers and Chuckys. The puppets from Puppet Master are obviously the most popular, along with The Demonic Toys, Myron Stackpool from Head of the Family, Killjoy, and some others. One of their less popular but still prevalent characters is Radu of the Subspecies series.
Our story opens in Castle Vladislas where Phantasm bad-guy Angus Scrimm sits licking blood off of what looks like a glass teat. The thing he’s licking is The Bloodstone, an ancient artifact said to drip the blood of saints. Scrimm hears a noise and hides the stone away in a secret slot in the wall. In slinks his son Radu who tells his father that he wants the bloodstone, but the king trips a lever that drops a cage on the exact spot where Radu conveniently happened to be standing. Unfortunately Radu just snaps off a couple fingers, which turn into little red demons that help him escape and kill his father because of course they do.
We now go to three college girls: Not Important, Not Important, and Michelle. They are interested in exploring Castle Vladislas as they are studying Romanian history and they meet a young student named Stefan. Stefan is secretly Radu’s half brother; ages ago a sorceress cursed their father and she later gave birth to Radu, Stefan was born of a human mother and isn’t crazy about his vampire heritage or his creepy dickweed brother. He vows to stop Radu from retrieving the bloodstone. Meanwhile Radu vampirizes the not-important girls to serve as fodder for vampire killing scenes later in the movie and if I say anymore I’ll have literally summarized every important plot detail.
This movie isn’t very well written; not a whole lot happens and at times it is just mind numbingly boring. So why am I bringing it to your attention? Radu! Radu is wonderful: basically imagine one of your smoldering sexy vampires that were a big deal in the 90s, like Lestat, but imagine that he looks and acts like Marnau’s Count Orlock in a bad wig and speaks like Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending and that he’s a pathetic loser with mommy issues who acts creepy because he wants people to take him seriously. (I may have actually unlocked the inspiration for Redmayne’s character in that movie, come to think of it.)
Actor Anders Hove seems to embrace the camp of Radu, though he does succeed at being genuinely creepy periodically. Radu is a a creepy and hilarious delight, he’s actually really pathetic and weird when you think about him and a goofy weirdo trying really hard to make people take him seriously just comes across as hilarious to me. The movie is largely terrible but it’s thanks to Hove’s performance that this and the three sequels (where Radu’s make-up grows increasingly more elaborate until it basically becomes a parody of itself and he reveals his Oedipal relationship with his gross zombie-witch mother who was actually just living in the basement the whole time) worth watching.
There’s some memorable gore gags and the final 20 minutes or so are pretty entertaining but the movie is mostly only worth it when Radu is onscreen. It’s mostly only worth watching as a gateway to the even more goofy sequels.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy? BUY IT! But be sure and buy the edition with the first three films all together, this movie doesn’t stand too well on its own.
If You Liked This, Watch: Modern Vampires (1998), Dracula II: Ascension (2003), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), What We Do in the Shadows (2015), Fright Night (1985), Fright Night Part II (1988), Fright Night (2011), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Lost Boys (1987), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)