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Review: The Vampire Doll

Continued my celebration of the Halloween season with a screening of The Vampire Doll at Metrograph. 

The first entry in director Michio Yamamoto’s so-called Bloodthirsty Trilogy, this recently-rediscovered (and beautifully restored) Toho chiller puts a fascinating spin on the vampire mythos. While it is superficially a work of “J-horror”, it lifts many of its tropes and visuals from American and European genre films: a super-powered deaf-mute manservant, a scientist that dabbles in occult studies, and, of course, an old, Western-style mansion filled with dark, foreboding corridors and creaky floorboards. The resulting narrative is undeniably familiar, yet enriched by the subtextual cultural conflict. I wish I had enough time today to enjoy the other two installments in the series; fortunately, all three movies are readily available on Blu-ray (thanks to the ever-stalwart Arrow Video).

[Originally written October 14, 2018.]

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