Lake of Dracula (1971) Movie Review
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Michio Yamamoto
Producers: Fumio Tanaka
Writers: Ei Ogawa, Masaru Takesue
Date Released: June 16, 1971
Midori Fujita as Akiko Kashiwagi
Chôei Takahashi as Dr. Takashi Saeki
Sanae Emi as Natsuko Kashiwagi
Shin Kishida as The Vampire
Kaku Takashina as Kyûsaku
Hideji Ôtaki as the old man
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The story is about a woman, Akiko, who had a terrible experience of coming across a vampire during her childhood. All she remembers is a golden eye which she painted as a proof of her memory. She lives by the house on the lake together with her sister. Her doctor boyfriend visits them often. One day, a coffin arrived and was taken to the boat operator’s house. It was the same vampire she encountered that was out to hunt her. The boat operator was bitten, along with another victim, until the sister was also captured by the vampire and became his right hand. It is up to Akiko and her boyfriend to find out the reason for the vampire’s arrival and how to stop him.
For a vampire movie, there was surprisingly not much blood. In fact, it was only shown when the vampire bit the sister in the woods and it’s only a small amount of dripping blood. The rest were just a bit of jump scares and a few makeup effects such as the pale white skin of the victims, the arm peeling from the hand, and the vampire’s body deflating and rotting until it became a skeleton.
The Grave Review
The movie opened with a past encounter with a vampire. From there, the movie never had a dull moment because the next scenes involved the arrival of the coffin in the present time, 18 years later.
Although the vampire appearance started early on in the movie, there were no significant number of victims or vampire killings that happened within the duration of the film. The very few vampire victims never even showed how they were bitten. There were no actual bite scenes, just a close up of the bite marks and their pale white complexion.
What was amazing was the camerawork and the cinematography. Though the Japanese actors lacked in facial expressions and natural emotions, how the scenes were captured and the good use of lighting gave it some form of depth to the dialogues.
The only problem was the lack of “vampire” essence in the movie. It only showed the vampires having no reflection and getting killed by a wooden stake. There were no other elements involved. In fact, the fistfight sequence in the old house was so funny because aside from the vampire losing to the boyfriend, getting tripped and falling down with an instant wooden stake was the worst way to die.
The entire movie would’ve been better if it included more actual vampire scenes instead of fistfights and focusing on the struggle of avoiding the dreaded neck bite.
Overall, this movie is recommended for those who are into weird Japanese horror films.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Lake of Dracula (1971) two graves out of five graves.
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