Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Vampire Hunter D

Grade: B+
Writer: based on the novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi (Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust)
Genre: Horror, Sci Fi, Romance
Release date: 1985
Runtime: 80 minutes

Vampire Hunter D is one of those obscure movies whose absurd, exotic animation is made that much cooler because it's all in Japanese. It was one of the first anime movies to leave Japan, and in my opinion, it is still one of the best. Set in a post-apocalyptic future in which humans are oppressed by vampires, Vampire Hunter D has a really cool blend of sci fi and horror elements. It follows a young girl named Doris Lang, who has been bitten by the local "Count," a noble vampire of old and powerful origins. The Count, who plans to make Doris his bride once she has transformed into a vampire, plays the part of arch-nemesis. Doris, in retaliation, hires a traveling hunter named D to kill the Count. D and Doris develop an increasingly romantic relationship as the movie progresses. If the hunter can slay the Count before Doris has fully transformed, she'll be lifted from his magic and able to ride off into the sunset with her new champion. If.

As corny as the plot sounds, this animated film is psychedelic enough to be part of Pink Floyd's The Wall. The entire world of Vampire Hunter D is dark and shady, with a score to match. This eerie, perpetually dark atmosphere makes for a really genuinely spooky experience. In some ways, the film's lack of realism contributes to the surreal level of spookiness. The monsters' character models are grotesque and frightening. When something dies, its blood and guts splatter with a revolting exaggeration characteristic of Mortal Kombat. The show's primarily black picture is broken up only by artistically selected splotches of color. Vampire Hunter D is a fully functional horror. Its sci fi elements are a little hindered by its antiquated animation; the frames move very choppily at times, leaving a little to be desired in the action scenes. But each fight is different, and this well-rounded film will satisfy its viewer with a morbid mix of sci fi, horror, and romance stuffed into an 80 minute package.

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