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What a wonderful night this has been! For the first time in one hundred years I haven’t been bored once!
I have seen the future, my friends, and it’s not a friendly place. There are ghouls and goblins, zombies and werewolves, and vampires killing with haste. This world is dark and windy, with cloudy sunshine in the day. The nights are foul and riddled with murder, a wanderer’s early grave.
Vampire Hunter D, Toyoo Ashida‘s 1985 classic(?), wastes very little time delivering the suspense. I say that jokingly of course because the movie has not aged very well. It’s been 28 years and the subbed version AND the Carl Macek directed English dub are cringe-worthy. Aside from the voice over work being a bit dated and phoned in, the animation works well here for me. There were countless creatures among the “desolate” wasteland that is the world D lives in. They are all colored and drawn beautifully down to their gory, visceral insides. Like the astral wolf creatures and red, ghostly cloud of death that floats around the valley. These creatures, although spectral in appearance bleed red, just like the rest of us. And D, our focus in this picture, is more than willing to cut open a demon or two on his way to saving the oppressed.
Okay, I like this movie. Call it a favoring hand of nostalgia, but I was willing to overlook the horrid English voice work and awkwardly cut scenes. The scenes leading into action were filled with boasts and jeers, and the battles themselves were abrupt (and very bloody). I wasn’t put off by the violence, but was bored by the other stuff. The story’s about D agreeing to save a young woman from an ancient vampire. She’s been bitten and her village fears that she may turn. There’s also the matter of the dastardly villain’s minions and his young, brash daughter. A handful of characters that matter in this one, and the speed in which this picture reaches it’s conclusion made the whole movie feel more like an television series special of sorts. Not a negative, but I wanted to see more of the weird, dangerous world these characters live in. It would have at least given the movie an excuse to pit D up against more goons and goblins. Story wise, it’s a predictable, worn path the movie travels along, but making the road splatter with blood, guts and guttural screams does make the walk more enjoyable. Anybody know if there are any plans for a Vampire Hunter D anime series?
Fans of heroic half-breeds, vampires, villains with silly motives, or blood and death should check this one out. I suppose those of us with an appreciation for 1980s anime will get more of a kick out of this one. It’s an older title, but the movie does all the important things right in a action-horror film.
I’m kicking off the marathon with Vampire Hunter D, the first movie from 1985! It’s based on the novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, and the film was directed by Toyoo Ashida. Mr. Toyoo’s career is pretty extensive and goes back as far as the mid-sixties. He developed his unique style working on Dr.Slump, and founded production studio Studio Live. He also co-founded Japanese Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) along with the late-Satoshi Kon. Expect to get a nice mix of action and strong, fantastically dark adventures in this one!