The Vampire Doll (1970) aka Legacy of Dracula
Director: Michio Yamamoto
Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka, Fumio Tanaka
Screenplay: Ei Ogawa, Hiroshi Nagano
Date Released: June 4, 1970 (Japan)
Yukiko Kobayashi as Yuko Nonomura
Yoko Minazake as Shidu Nonomura, Yuko’s mother
Atsuo Nakamura as Kazuhiko Sagawa, Yuko’s fiancé
Kayo Matsuo as Keiko Sagawa
Akira Nakao as Hiroshi Takagi
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Kazuhiko has recently returned from America and is about to visit his fiancé, Yuko. However, when he arrives at Yuko’s house, he finds out that Yuko has died in a car accident two weeks ago. Kazuhiko soon starts to see Yuko and questions whether she is actually dead. Days later, Kazuhiko’s sister, Keiko, starts to become concerned because her brother has not called or checked in with her. She asks her boyfriend, Hiroshi to go Yuko’s house and find the whereabouts of her brother. Once there, Keiko asks Yuko’s mother, Shidu, where her brother may be. Shidu informs Keiko and Hiroshi that Kazuhiko left the day after visiting. Suspicious of Shidu’s truthfulness, Keiko and Hiroshi try to investigate the whereabouts of Kazuhiko and Yuko. But, what they find is a darker secret.
There is virtually no gore in this film other than occasional death scenes. However, there is one notable scene towards the end of the film that highlights Japan’s expertise in gore where one of Yuko’s victims gets his throat cut resulting in a massive splash of blood. Otherwise, there is no other notable scene.
The Grave Review
The Vampire Doll presented a traditional vampire story that was clear, concise and well-executed. The story began as an interesting vampire mystery but became flat towards the end of the film. The twist of the film felt rushed and didn’t really add to the story as a whole. The film just didn’t have a lot to work with and so the story eventually split in multiple directions for a less satisfying ending. This in combination with the slow pace of the story was the low point of the film. Nevertheless, The Vampire Doll did utilize excellent cinematic quality as well as respectable acting throughout the film. In addition, the background music also added a nice eerie dimension to the film as well.
One of the best aspects of the film was Yuko’s character. She was both mesmerizing and eerie that made the viewer want to see more of her. Unfortunately, the film did not showcase her character as much as I would have liked. Her uncomfortable smile in combination with those sharp eyes made for an excellent vampire/soul/spirit.
Overall, The Vampire Doll is not a bad film and certainly has some positive aspects. But, as stated above, there was not a lot of depth to the story. If you are looking for a straightforward, slow-paced film, you may want to watch this one.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Vampire Doll (1970) two and a half graves out of five graves.
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