FRYEAN MYTHOS: *drama*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *metaphysical, psychological*
SUBSPECIES is the first of four vampire films with the same cast of characters, as well as one "spin-off" film that takes place in the same "universe." All were written (or co-written) by director Ted Nicolaou, and all were filmed in Romania, which proves to be the best aspect of the series, since Nicolaou takes full advantage of the settings and even the physical attire of the characters to give his films vraisemblance.
I haven't finished re-watching all five films yet, but my memories of previous screenings suggest that these are just lively, atmospheric time-killers. The first sets up the basic characters and their concerns, and then the sequels just repeat the same basic formula; vampires running around fanging people while pursuing an arcane artifact, the Bloodstone. The "subspecies" tag originally refers to little red manikins that the king-vampire Radu creates from his own blood, but they have only minimal impact on the storylines and may have been no more than concessions to one of the film's production companies, Full Moon, which made malevolent manikins one of their signature tropes, a la PUPPET MASTER and DEMONIC TOYS.
Nicolaou's take on vampire mythology, while derivative, is at least somewhat more engrossing than the average low-rent fang-tale. In this world, apparently vampires can breed normally, for SUPSPECIES concerns two half-brothers, begat from a vampire lord from two women, one a vampiric sorceress and the other a mortal. The film starts out with the full vampire Radu (Anders Hove) slaying his father in order to obtain the Bloodstone, a relic able to shed the blood of a saint, and thus empowering any vampire who owns it. (That said, even when he has the Bloodstone in his hands, Radu doesn't seem to hold off on drinking blood from innocent mortals-- though he and his kindred must not have doing much blood-taking, since in modern times, only the older Romanians believe in vampires.) Radu's half-brother Stephan doesn't want the relic, nor does he want anything to do with feeding off people, though it's established that he does have roughly the same vampiric powers as Radu.