Lake of Dracula
Lake of Dracula
After a coffin is delivered to a sleepy little Japanese town, one of the locals discovers that its occupant isn't dead yet. Unfortunately, the only witness to the vampire invasion gets bitten, along with several other people in town. Only one woman, Akiko, knows the truth, but even she doubts what she is seeing. Can the village be saved before it's too late?
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May 31, 2018 at 09:26 PM
The film's few virtues wear out pretty fast
The movie's strengths include the vaguely Wizard Of Oz-like opening sequence, persuasively evocative of a little girl's dream; its desaturated/pastel color scheme (which I guess could just be a sign of a decaying print, but anyway lends it an intriguingly muted quality at times); the occasional interesting composition; and the overall interest value of seeing standard vampire plot gambits and mythology at play in an unusual setting. These virtues wear out pretty fast though, and the movie quickly becomes over-reliant on coincidence and contrivance, with the heroine experiencing one narrow escape too many; the tone becomes repetitive, and the mythology lackadaisical. Needless to say, the dialogue (at least in this dubbed version) and acting are seldom more than functional. The movie also suffers from excessive decorum, with the erotic aspects of vampirism severely downplayed (especially given the final plot twists).
Effective vampire horror.
Otherwise known as 'Noroi no yakata-Chi o su me', this was the second in a vampire trilogy released by Toho, who were by this time coming to the end of the first wave of their Godzilla film series. It is a perhaps surprisingly effective chiller starring Shin Kishida as a gaunt, golden eyed vampire. His scenes are given great menace and shot in effective cold colours. His is a very alien, feral vampire and very eerie because of this, as are his doll-like brides. Tadao Futami should also receive special mention as a very quirky, unnerving 'truck driver.'
Director Michio Yamamoto infuses the picture with the classic ingredients of traditional horror - fine use of shadows, storms, rain lashing against skeleton trees and a deathly white pallor for the undead - and gives the limited locations a claustrophobic air.
Good guys Akiko (Midori Fujita) and Dr. Takashi Saeki (Chôei Takahashi) are full of resolve but never quite as interesting - their personalities are strictly confined to solving the various problems at hand leaving no room for characterisation.
That is my only real issue with this though. Everything works in a surprisingly restrained, sinister way, except the vampire's eventual demise, which is terrifying. It certainly won't change your world, but it is significantly more than the bygone horror curio I thought it was going to be.
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An Overall Eerie Atmosphere
As a child "Akiko Kashiwagi" (Midori Fujita) witnessed a horrible scene involving a vampire and has tried her best to repress it since then. Now in her mid-twenties certain strange events begin occurring which bring those memories front and center. The problem is that when she tries to tell her younger sister "Natsuko Kashiwagi" (Sanae Emi) about them she ends up sounding a little crazy and begins to question her sanity. Fortunately, her boyfriend "Dr. Takashi Saeki" (Choei Takahashi) is a bit more understanding. Even so, he still isn't quite able to make the connection when a patient is admitted to the emergency room totally drained of blood and with two bite marks on her neck. And then things really begin to happen. Now, rather than detail any more of the movie and risk spoiling it for those who haven't seen it I will just say that, even though this basic story has been told many times and in many ways, this particular film was somewhat unique due in large part to the Japanese setting. I especially liked the heavy use of makeup on some of the characters along with the fog which helped to create an overall eerie atmosphere. Likewise, having a pretty actress like the aforementioned Sanae Emi certainly didn't hurt either. In any case, while the movie was certainly no blockbuster I think it deserves at least an average rating.