Review: Vampire Journals (1997)
I rented the Sci-Fi Channel version, William Shatner's Full Moon Fright Night Vol. 1: Vampire Journals. The DVD includes the original Full Moon Video featurette, a slew of trailers, and a Roadshow preview as well as the William Shatner stuff where the commercials would've been placed. Finally, and weirdly, the DVD includes Shatner interviewing Stan Lee.
The movie is an offshoot of director Ted Nicolaou's excellent Subspecies series. It features vampires from Master Radu's bloodline and the fairly complex plotlines of the film explore the relationships between master vampires (in this case, Ash) and others of their line. Nicolaou makes mention a few times of integrating Vampire Journals with the classic Subspecies themes to create a crossover at some point in the future; but it's possible all hope of such a film was lost during the Full Moon wane of the 2000's.
The pacing of Vampire Journals is excellent, though much slower and less gorier than Nicolaou's Subspecies work. A decayed, gothic feel is sustained throughout, with highbrow dialogue and subtle plot shifts. Most of the sideplots are resolved well before the ending, but all of them help depict the decay of master Ash's powers.
The main plot of the film centers around the "hero" vampire, Zachary, who has sworn to wipe out Radu's bloodline. He's traveled to Bucharest to hunt out the "music-lover", Ash. They square off over a pianist, and the rest is good watching.
The plot is interesting until the ending standoff, which is so terribly out of place, boring, and quick that it almost ruins the film. It doesn't; and more importantly, it leaves plenty of room for some sort of sequel. And, if there's room for a sequel or a crossover, Full Moon is a company that will give it a shot. Hopefully, Nicolaou is still interested. Considering that Vampire Journals was the first choice entry for the Shatner-hosted Sci-Fi Channel show, its a good bet the film carries a significant place in the heart of Full Moon.
One final comment: Vampire Journals and other top shelf Full Moon fare is the reason I've waded through every dreadful Albert Pyun suckfest in the catolog. You never know when you'll come across a gem.