Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Import/Export: Japanese Dracula (aka Evil of Dracula)

Drac is back to terrorize a new Country!  After many visits to London and a few to America, he made the trip overseas to the Land of the Rising Sun.  Today's Film is Evil of Dracula, one of many Japanese Dracula Films, it seems.  I've seen American, British, French, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and Chinese Dracula Films, so why not?!?  This one appears to be pretty inspired by the Hammer Films, ironically coming right around the time that Hammer went out of business.  Coincidence or Japan picking up the slack- you decide!  The Film feels very similar to Brides of Dracula, arguably Hammer's best Dracula Film without Christopher Lee in it.  Ironically, the other one was made as a Co-Production with the Chinese Shaw Brothers!  This Story involves a new Teacher coming to Town, only to find that evil is afoot.  The whole thing about Dracula here is...complicated, but I'll get to that.  Is this a glorious piece of 70s Horror or something that needs to be waxed clean off?  To find out, read on...
A Teacher arrives at a rural Mountain Town.  Is this supposed to be like the original Dracula?
He meets up with the mysterious Principal who seems to want more out of hero than first thought.
Oh and Vampires are here.  Not good.
Just like in classic Dracula, some girls are being targeted and getting mysteriously ill.  All in all, still the least bad thing to happen to a Japanese School Girl...
Eventually, our Hero finds out the backstory that he needs to know...

Dracula showed up in Japan long ago and became a Vampire.  He was killed, but the curse lived on through body transference...or something.
With a slowly-growing army, the evil Principal- was there any doubt?- continues to convert the girls.  Naturally, one death makes this white flower turn red because symbolism.
Our Hero's friend takes a picture of the Vampire, but dies before he can reveal anything.  Thankfully the Vampire doesn't understand Polaroid technology and the evidence survives.
This all leads to a final battle against the Vampire...who refuses to die.  He's persistent!
Finally, he dies and his immortality starts to fade.  In a 'romantic' moment, him and his Vampire Bride turn into skeletons just as their hands touch.  Aw.  The End.
Good stuff, but nothing great.  The whole thing feels pretty familiar.  To be fair, there are like 1,003 Films about Dracula by now, so it is understandable.  This kind of Dracula Film that is all about slow build-up to terror.  It mostly works here.  The Acting is good enough to keep you interested, but not so great overall.  The Story is nice here, making you feel for the situation.  The Vampire make-up is...basically just white powder.  Is it Racist to put them all in white face?  No.  I just figured that I should bring it up so nobody else will.  This one is much more about Atmosphere and build-up than Action, so just know that going in.  All in all though, it is a good Film.  I'm not entirely clear on how the whole Dracula thing worked here, but I can give it a pass.  It isn't like this is Die Hard Dracula or anything.  It does, however, feature some very clever self-Censoring for Japan (with some help from me)...
Next up, the second-least important part of the Universal Film Library comes to life.  Much like John Cena, you can't see him.  Stay tuned...

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