Evil of Dracula
evil of dracula | michio yamamoto | ei ogawa | masaru takesue | toshio kurosawa | mariko mochizuki | kunie tanaka | vampire | vampires | sequel | college | shin kishida | katsuhiko sasaki | mio ota | mika katsuragi | keiko aramaki | yunosuke ito | drama | japan
Film: Evil of Dracula (Chi o suu bara)
Director: Michio Yamamoto
Writer: Ei Ogawa and Masaru Takesue
Starring: Toshio Kurosawa, Mariko Mochizuki and Kunie Tanaka
This was a film I didn’t know much about, but when my local theater was showing this trilogy of Japanese vampire films, I decided to check all three of them out. Much like the previous film, I had seen the trailer once and wasn’t sure too much about it coming in. The official synopsis is a teacher assumes a position at a school where some of the young women are turning up missing.
I want to lead off stating that I altered the synopsis a bit as it contained a spoiler. We start the film with professor Shiraki (Toshio Kurosawa) getting off a train. He goes inside and asks when the next bus is and learns that there isn’t one that day. He goes outside and a man pulls up to take him to the school. He is Yoshi (Katsuhiko Sasaki) and he is also a professor. On the way to the school they see a car accident on the side of the road. Shiraki learns that is was the principal’s wife that died in it.
They arrive and meet with him. He is played by Shin Kishida. He offers Shiraki a drink and tells him that his plan is for him to become the next principal of the school. He asks him to stay and they talk briefly about his departed wife.
In the night, he hears a woman singing and goes searching. He goes into a room where he finds Keiko (Yasuko Agawa). There’s something not right about her and then he is attacked by someone who looks like the principal’s wife, played by Mika Katsuragi. She is vampire.
Shiraki wakes up the next day and thinks it was all a dream. He goes about meeting some of the students, which includes Kumi Saijô (Mariko Mochizuki), Yukiko Mitamura (Mio Ôta) and Kyôko Hayashi (Keiko Aramaki). He also meets Dr. Shimomura (Kunie Tanaka). It is through them Shiraki learns about the history of this place, how one or two girls go missing each year and there are rumors of vampires in the area.
When a break is coming up and Kyôko is attacked, her friends decide to stay behind. They become the targets of the vampire while Shiraki and Dr. Shimomura try to figure out who is behind this and the truth.
I want to start this review off stating that much like the previous one, I liked this even more for its story. This is actually the first film in the trio that credits Bram Stoker. This film also much like the others does have a feeling of the Hammer films in Europe that were coming out at the time. What I find interesting as well is the setting of this film. It establishes this school is in the middle of nowhere. That gives it an isolated feeling which helps in the mood. The houses that are used also look creepy. They aren’t the castles you get in many vampire films and I think it works in the film’s favor to be different.
This one also follows the vampire mythology. We get that you can’t take pictures of vampires and that they need blood to survive. I also found this one interesting in that it takes us back to the history of the vampire. It was crazy that the person who became the vampire was actually a Christian who was tortured in the town. In his pain he turned his back on God and then drank blood which turned him. This also does something quite interesting in how the identity of the vampire is unknown.
I did have a little issue with the school having one or two women disappear each year. We see that if someone is bit that they turn into a vampire, which explains why some of them disappear. My issue with this though is I feel the school might be closer to being shut down if it was that frequently. Just something that crossed my mind while watching this.
I will say that this film was paced pretty well. It never really got boring to me, but I think a lot of that comes from the fact that they introduced more characters here and the vampires feed on them. The higher body count keeps it from getting boring. There is an interesting reveal in this film as well that I have kind of alluded to earlier that I enjoyed. I thought the ending was solid and fit the film.
Acting for the film was good also. Kurosawa is good as the hero in the film. I like that he gets introduced to the creature pretty early on and is trying to get to the bottom of it from the beginning. He doesn’t believe initially, but as much information is discovered, he knows that it must be. Tanaka is solid at giving us the history of the school as well as the side-kick to Shiraki. He isn’t in the film all that long though. Kishida is solid in his role and I thought he had a good look. Mochizuki, Ôta and Aramaki are solid as the three friends who are the focus of the attacks. They are all pretty cute as well. I also thought Katsuragi was solid in her small role. The rest of the cast round out the film well.
Effects were something else that I thought were surprisingly pretty well done. The blood in the film looked good. It is interesting that they didn’t go as fluorescent as films from the era tended to do. The vampire wounds looked good. There was really only one scene that involved a Rorschach test that I thought didn’t look great. The film was also shot very well in my opinion.
The last thing I wanted to touch on would be the score. I thought it was solid at setting the mood for the film. There is some quirky sounding songs, but for whatever reason they fit the scene and helped to enhance it. There is also some odd sounding singing that we hear which is actually happening in the film. I thought that was a good touch as it draws the character to the action.
Now with that said, I thought this was a good film. The story, even though not perfect, was good and they actually established a back-story. The pacing was good and it moves through at a good rate. It had an ending that fit for what they needed. Acting for the film I thought was good as were the effects. The soundtrack did some interesting things and it fit the film well. As I said, I thought this was a good vampire film, but I will warn you it is from Japan. I watched it with subtitles on, so if that is an issue, I’d avoid this one.
My Rating: 8 out of 10