Lake of Dracula
Midori Fujita, Osahide Takahashi, Shin Kishida
Japanese vampires: Essentially
western vampires, though they
can survive in daylight, are either (1) moronic and mute or (2) smart
talkative or (3) smart and with a Bela Lugosi-like dubbed voice, can be
killed with stakes or fire, and are very patient - so vampires may
this movie more than I did.
Initially interesting, but ultimately
standard and unexciting, Lake
of Dracula does at least give the opportunity to view Japan's
of vampires. While Chinese vampires at least hop around (!), Japanese
are apparently toothless.
The movie opens with a spectacular
seaside shot at sunset, and is the
most memorable image of the exercise. A little girl, Akiko, runs after
her dog and discovers a mysterious mansion with a creepy elderly man
Running in, she bumps into a Japanese vampire. Aside from being
he doesn't seem much different than western vampires (in fact, his pale
white makeup makes his facial features look more western). His clothing
doesn't seem that different - the standard black clothing sans
and with a white scarf.
The scene ends here, and we jump years
into the future, with Akiko now
a grown woman. Her voice is done by the same dubber, but never mind
that. Living at a lakeside house with her sister, she has what seems to
be a normal life, with a doctor boyfriend working in the city. We learn
the previous events were dismissed as a dream by her parents, and even
Akiko now believes it.
Strange things start to happen. A coffin
is delivered to the fishing
rental place, and the occupant (of the coffin) bites the owner. A
vampire appears. Akiko's sister's face turns pale, but nobody notices.
Akiko herself is attacked by the zombie-like bitten owner, and barely
to escape. She is also threatened by the chief vampire. Initially,
Akiko's boyfriend has
doubts that something supernatural is nearby, but when strange things
start happening at the hospital he starts
to slowly change his mind, leading to the inevitable final showdown.
I was sorely disappointed that the movie
- aside from the Japanese actors
and vehicles - had really nothing else that could be identified as
Replacing the Japanese actors and vehicles with Western ones, and you'd
have almost no rewriting to do. You could even use the same locations,
and not have to change things. If you are looking for some Japanese
you'll be disappointed.
Despite this, I wouldn't really have
minded as long as the movie had
an engaging story, good characters, and some genuine horror.
we get endless "_______-jumps-in-the-frame-to-jolt-the-audience"
scenes; the story could have been told
in half an hour, but is stretched out; and even the vampires have no
To top it off, the American distributor (UPA Productions) made some
cuts, rendering parts of the story incomprehensible and the more
aspects laughable or confusing. In one scene, the zombie vampire guy is
about to clobber the doctor with a wrench during a thunderstorm. Next
we know, he's lying on the ground, and we aren't sure how he was killed
There is one fascinating revelation in
the movie, however. We learn
that the vampire is the grandson of a European vampire noble who
in Japan and married a Japanese woman (the vampire gene subsequently
a generation). I can't help but wonder if this was some kind of
- unconscious or otherwise - on the part of the filmmakers, considering
that my studies of Japan at university revealed a long history of this,
which exists in some forms even today. Were they implying that even
several generations, Japanese with foreign blood are still not
Japanese? Or that the introduction of foreign blood is dangerous? Maybe
someone could take a bite of this sometime.
Aside from a few amusing bits (a car's
tires screech on mud,
the head vampire has a long hissing fit), Lake of Dracula
is a disappointment, though I can't recall it ever being boring or bad
enough to be annoying. I've heard the follow-up, Evil of Dracula,
is an improvement, so I'll review it later.
By the way, there is no Dracula.
Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)
See also: Evil Of Dracula, The Black Room, The Night