Today I talk about the bloodthirsty trilogy; I am huge fan of cult horror classics and horror movies made by hammer horror as I grew up loving horror movies since a young age would rent a new scary movie often that would be such fun to watch often. Michio Yamamoto’s singular takes on the Dracula mythos is something quite unique among Japanese horror movies. the Japanese are justly famous for their unique and culturally-specific contributions to Horror cinema they have not really done much outside their border in terms of what others do as crazes that others do in other nations yet would they saw the money to be made from vampires as they saw hammer horror classics making they decided to cash into that craze with their own takes on vampire mythos.

Three horror classics were Spearheaded by Toho Studios (home of the aforementioned Godzilla) and helmed by the markedly unprolific Michio Yamamoto, THE VAMPIRE DOLL (1970), LAKE OF DRACULA (1971), and EVIL OF DRACULA (1974) sought to capitalize on the Gothic Horror boom by borrowing heavily from Hammer’s signature style yet they are not copies of anything form hammer horror but highly original takes on the classic legends of vampires that hammer horror fans and Gothic fans will enjoy to watch anytime as i am talking about THE BLOODTHIRSTY TRILOGY which i just got recently as it an arrow video blu-ray release of the classic take on hammer horror by Toho Studios that I feel anyone will enjoy to  watch again and again. So let’s dive into this classic horror classic gems now.


Vampires invade the normally serene confines of Japanese cinema in three elegant 70’s shockers directed by Michio Yamamoto in these gothic hammer inspired classics.

The Vampire Doll review 

The vampire doll is no doubt inspired by western horror movies in so many regards as post-war Japan meets the Euro Gothic styling of Hammer Horror with hints of Corman’s Poe cycle and the works of Mario Bava. as Kieko (Kayo Matsuo) goes in search of her brother who has failed to return from a visit to the rural home of his fiancee. The first entry in what would become collectively known as The Bloodthirtsy Trilogy and tied into the myths of vampirism and Dracula.

The musty rooms littered with doll parts, a jovial doctor who dabbles in the occult, the unnerving staccato movements of Yuko when she moves in for the kill really can make you feel chills as it unfolds toward the climax of the movie is photographed by Kazutami Hara, cameraman on Kurosawa’s tense Tohoscope drama High and Low.  I would say his camera work is lovely as it captures the gothic horror so well.

The actors are framed by widescreen compositions that emphasize a sense of isolation that really captures the feeling.  Michio Yamamoto direction is wonderful but discreet and his cast is admirably reined in – particularly Kayo Matsuo (of Shogun Assassin) as Keiko and, in a nearly silent performance, Yukiko Kobayashi (of Destroy All Monsters) as the star crossed Yuko as they all give out such wonderful jobs in their performances on the screen. The vampire doll is a movie filled with Gothic horror images and an original take on vampire mythos that i feel you will enjoy watching again and again.

The Ruth rating:

LAKE OF DRACULA (1971) review 

Lake of Dracula (1971): Young Akiko loses her puppy one day and tracks the dog to a strange European mansion . Once there she encounters the corpse of a woman and a vampire (Mori Kishida). Flash forward  many years, and Akiko (Midori Fujita) is still haunted by the images she witnessed as a child, though she believes the whole affair was merely a dream that happened.


Talk about hitting my cinematic sweet spot as Toho Studios doing its take on a Hammer Films Gothic vampire story! As expected, the result is a superbly crafted traditional horror piece. Spiritual follow up to the filmmaker’s VAMPIRE DOLL and by that people just mean it’s another Gothic horror that he and Toho made. Anyways this one actually has a traditional vampire and rules of western horror movies of this type. Lake of Dracula is Stylish old-school flick with a welcome lack of overt exploitative elements.

Lake of Dracula is a film about a girl who saw a vampire as a child and then grew up to meet that vampire again and realize the cause for her nightmares are real. Lake of Dracula uses many old school horror traits that i adore to see in action as its fun to watch these scenes unfold on the screen. Shin Kishida (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) plays the vampire with two modes, entitled playboy in a fancy scarf and bloodsucking monster that steals the show as he simply is a wonderful actor in this movie. Riichiro Manabe provides a weird musical score that calls to mind the rubbery squelching sounds of his Godzilla vs. Hedorah score from the same year. Cinematographer Rokuro Nishigaki really has such rich hammer styled horror camera work that captures the west meets east feeling of this classic movie.

Lake of Dracula is another wonderful horror classic that may seem like normal hammer horror but its fun to watch form beginning to end that you will enjoy it upon the screen.

The Ruth rating:

EVIL OF DRACULA (1974) review Evil of Dracula (1974): Professor Shiraki (Toshio Kurosawa) takes a job at a remote girl’s academy. Upon arriving the mega-creepy Principal (Shin Kishida) informs Shiraki that he will be the school’s new principal as he is stepping down due to the recent death of his wife.

Evil of Dracula is the third and final film in Toho’s mid 70s trio of western style vampire movies now known as the “Bloodthirsty Trilogy as that i feel each of series is so different form the other movie. Japanese Gothic vampirism has now clearly entered the ’70s with shaggier hair, groovier clothes, and shakier camera work that really feels like made in the 1970’s while most movies with this setup would have the kids learn of vampires and try to tell their disbelieving (and potentially evil) teachers, Evil of Dracula flips that on its head. Here it’s the adults who are quick to believe the notion of vampires hidden among us, whereas the students generally see a vampire bite victim as someone with a bad case of the flu.

Shin Kishida is back playing the vampire in a white scarf previously seen in Lake of Dracula as he is wonderful as the vampire again. Evil of Dracula has such a good cast that many would recognize upon the screen such as oshio Kurosawa makes for a likable intellectual hero and I enjoyed Kunie Tanaka’s supporting role. The relatively unknown actresses are good in their roles upon the screen with its eerie setting near a wooded lake, rich atmosphere, gorgeous widescreen imagery, and mnemonic score, Lake of Dracula is a strikingly well-made horror movie that is an easy recommendation to watch anytime.

The Ruth rating:

The Bloodthirsty Trilogy is a trio of films that, as a longtime fan of Toho’s science fiction and fantasy movies, I have always wanted to see. And now after watching them all, I can say I don’t consider any one of the movies to be a disappointment. In fact, for as much as they are touted as Hammer-inspired horror as i simply enjoyed to watch all three of those wonderfully fun classic horror gems. really think they manage to escape the Hammer shadow and stand on their own as a trio of interesting, weird movies that you will enjoy to watch again and again like  i did as i enjoyed to talk them today too.

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