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We return to the Full moon to explore some of the most memorable pairings — unlikely duos that shouldn’t work but somehow create magic.

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We’ve descended back into Full Moon Feature’s expansive direct-to-video and streaming catalog, taking a more intimate look at the best casting of unlikely duos from the label’s more dramatic and darker comedic genres. (Read our article on the Best Full Moon Ensemble Casts.)

Here are our top three Full Moon Features picks, which showcase opposing forces, blood ties, and cursed friendships of hellish indifference.

Note: There are spoilers ahead. If you want to catch up on anything you might have missed or revisit these beloved films and franchises, they are all streaming on Full Moon Features and Tubi.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

the_pit_and_the_pendulum2

Torquemada (Lance Henriksen) and Maria (Rona De Ricci)

Director: Stuart Gordon
Casting: Perry Bullington, Robert MacDonald

Adapted from Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, Stuart Gordon’s The Pit and the Pendulum tells the dark tormented tale of Torquemada (Lance Henriksen), head monk and inquisitor of the 1492 Spanish inquisition.

In taking his sadistic torture too far, Torquemada locks eyes with the Baker’s wife, Maria (Rona De Ricci), as she objects to the public whipping of the Contessa D’Alba Molina (Caroly-Purdy-Gordon)’s son, (Barbara Bocci) who decries his mother’s execution. Maria is innocent in nature. She looks right into your soul.  Torquemada declares her to be a witch because of his sexual attraction to her.

It takes a peculiar soul to provoke another into emotional distress. Henriksen and De Ricci play this off each other beautifully, both wanting to be pure individuals, with her goodness tested beyond measure against his faltering faith.

While Torquemada tortures Maria, her husband Antonio (Jonathan Fuller) attempts a rescue, forcing Maria to confess her nonexistent sins to save his life.

Maria dies in the arms of the accused witch, Esmeralda (Frances Bay, an unforgettable role!), but her revenge extends beyond the grave, forcing Henriksen’s resurfaced humanity. Now a virginal Mary mother figure of redemption and forgiveness, Maria releases her anguish and ultimately frees Torquemada from his torment with the mercy of death.

Subspecies Series (1991 to 2023)

Radu (Anders Hove) and Michelle (Denice Duff)

Director: Ted Nicolaou
Casting: Perry Bullington, Robert MacDonald

Intrepid and bounded by blood, Ted Nicolaou’s unrelenting Subspecies series tells the centuries-old and multifaceted connection between master Romanian vampire Radu (Anders Hove) and college student turned fledgling Michelle Morgan (Denice Duff).

Fearing that Michelle would transfigure like his demented half-brother, Radu, Stefan (Michael Watson) turns his lover into a fledgling to save her innocence.  Radu had bit her, mingling his blood with hers. Their deeper attachment takes off in Bloodstone: Subspecies 2, after Radu kills Stefan and follows her around Eastern Europe to reclaim the family’s stolen bloodstone (the blood of saints) relic.

Duff beautifully transitions into the role of Michelle. She doesn’t distract, and I am not phased that it’s not Laura Mae Tate, who plays the character in the first film. There’s a tighter bond between Duff and Hove. Michelle, as a new vampire, is sickly yet radiant and comes to terms with the ever-indented regret of her immortality.

Hove, as Radu, is gothic in fashion with his Nosferatu-like hands. Radu is fascinating and charismatic, with a hallowed face battered by time, longing, and weakness. Hove’s performance is pure poetry.

Radu is the enigma that won’t go away in his endless entitlement to Michelle. Every time he physically dies at the hands of Michelle, he is reborn by a devilish mini subspecies morphed from his blood and flesh, making him crave even more power over her.

The magnificent prequel, Blood Rise: Subspecies V (2023), finally ties back to this immortal relationship of codependency and repulsion that Radu and Michelle have for each other to survive and sustain. Radu, a crusader, discovers that he was taken at birth upon meeting his father, Vladislas (Kevin Spirtas, dual role as Mel mid-series).

Saving Helena (Duff), his father’s consort, and their son, Stefan (Jakov Marjanovic), Helena resembles Michelle, and Radu has a mysterious affection for her.  Helena turns him into a vampire, but the family blood that runs through his veins only awakens the bloodsucker within him. Helena teaches him great powers, and the conception of this unearthly bond is interrupted by Vladislas abducting Helena and Stefan.

For centuries, he grieves the absence of Helena and finds new fledglings. Finally reunited, but in a power struggle, he kills her. Helena’s dying curse, “I will be reborn and haunt you till the end of time,” is fulfilled in the reincarnation of Michelle and Radu’s disdain “and torment me to madness.”

Nicolaou’s work as a director and Hove and Duff’s performances are forever immortal for us Full Moon fans.

Baby Oopsie Series (2021-2022)

Baby Oopsie

Ray-Ray Dupree (Justina Armistead) and Sybil Pittman (Libbie Higgins)

Director: William Butler
Casting: William Butler, Jessica Houde, Jessica Hughes

Comedian Libbie Higgins is everything magnificent in this unique role of doll whisperer and social outcast Sybil Pittman in William Butler’s dark comedy trilogy series, Baby Oopsie.

Bullied daily and misunderstood, Sybil lives in the comfort of collecting and repairing vintage dolls. She can’t do right by pessimistic stepmom, Mitzy Pittman (Lynne Acton McPherson), and takes meds to calm racing homicidal thoughts about others.

Her life brings meaning when she receives a foreboding-looking doll head named Baby Oopsie. More mysterious parts come in the mail, along with a red medallion that animates the foul-mouthed demonic doll to life. Revenge killings and the disappearances of whoever crosses Sybil start to spiral out of control.

The discovered secret of the gifted doll parts came from mischievous bestie Ray-Ray (Justina Armistead), who is now inhabited by Satan and summoned to use Sybil to birth Baby Oopsie’s diabolic takeover of the world.

In the sequel, Murder Dolls, Sybil’s murderous nature is encouraged. Yet, the ghost of Mitzy and her Catholic consciousness make her more conflicted about Baby Oopsie’s demonic pull over Ray-Ray.

The last installment, Burn, Baby, Burn, mends their friendship for the better, but not without demonic indifferences.

Her friendship with Ray-Ray opens her up. Ray-Ray is an equable soul for Sybil, who carries the burdens of family on her shoulders. With the help of Father McGavin (LeJon Woods, a great character addition), who leads Sybil back to the light, they work together to save Ray-Ray’s soul and destroy the legion of Baby Oopsie’s demonic dolls.

In dolls, food, Satan, and Catholic guilt, Sybil and Ray-Ray have an unusual bond, bringing out the best and the worst in friendship, whether in hell or heaven.

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