Evil of Dracula – Japan, 1974

Evil of Dracula – original title: Chi o suu bara “Bloodsucking Rose” – is a 1974 Japanese supernatural horror film directed by Michio Yamamoto (Lake of Dracula; The Vampire Doll) from a screenplay by Ei Ogawa and Masaru Takesue, based very loosely on Bram Stoker‘s novel Dracula. The Toho production stars Toshio Kurosawa, Mariko Mochizuki, and Kunie Tanaka.

When Professor Shiraki starts his new job at Seimei School for Girls, he is unprepared for the horrors that await him in the classrooms. He arrives to discover the principal’s dead wife kept in the cellar, and his fellow teachers acting oddly towards the pupils.

With help from Shimomura, the school doctor, he begins to piece together the answer to the mystery behind the school and the disappearances there…

On 14 May 2018, Evil of Dracula is being issued in the UK by Arrow Video as part of a ‘Bloodthirsty Trilogy’ Blu-ray set. Extras include:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Kim Newman on The Bloodthirsty Trilogy, a new video appraisal by the critic and writer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese film expert Jasper Sharp

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

“Nudity and extra gore are added here including a nasty bit of “facial surgery”. While several elements are revisited from the previous movies, the back story is the most expansive of the two and also adapts ideas straight out of Stoker’s novel. It’s not as accomplished as the previous two entries, but well worth a look for vampire lovers and Japanese cinema aficionados.” Cool Ass Cinema

“The film is a joyously seamless piece of genre entertainment, largely free of the tonal hiccups that made Vampire Doll less so. Yamamoto — along with Manabe and co-writer Ei Ogawa — clearly learned from his experience as the series went on, and his resulting confidence and familiarity with the territory all ends up on the screen to our benefit.” Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!

” …the ‘isolated individual in an isolated location’ scenario, the occasionally slightly campy feel, the mix of suspenseful scenes and jolt-inducing ‘boo!’ moments, the vampire’s noticeable pallor, odd moments of unpleasantness, the spooky atmosphere, etc. But the ante is upped somewhat by the employment of a much faster pace and the involvement of more supporting characters.” Lee Broughton, DVD Savant

“There are some interesting touches here; the backstory involving the torture of a Christian (at a time in Japanese history when that faith was not allowed) is unusual, the use of a white rose with sharp thorns (and which turns red at one point) is a good touch, the vampires bite their victims on the breast rather than on the neck, and, this being Japan, there is no use of the usual Christian symbols to ward off vampires.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“In comparison to Lust for a VampireEvil of Dracula is much more sedate. Lust was overflowing with busty teenage girls in a ready state of undress but here Yamamoto has excised almost all suggestion of any sexual element. In this sense, Evil of Dracula comes much closer to the original repressions of Stoker’s Dracula, where the chief vampire, like Dracula, serves to turn the female victims into dangerous forces who are occasionally imbued with sensual interest.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Even if one doesn’t care to consider whether there’s any symbolic meaning to the story, there are a few visual pleasures to enjoy for their own sake. The trio of schoolgirls that fight each other for the attention of Shiraki, also have the habit of pricking themselves with thorns from a white rose thoughtfully provided by the vampire principal.” Coffee Coffee and More Coffee

“Though it drags a little at first, Evil of Dracula builds to an exciting conclusion and features some genuinely unsettling scenes, both creepy (a hand rising from a coffin behind the oblivious Shiraki) and gory: a face-removal scene (shades of Les yeux sans visage?) which is truly nasty […] The vampire’s eventual demise is also pretty horrific.” MJ Simpson, Cult films and the people who make them

Main cast and characters:

  • Toshio Kurosawa … Professor Shiraki
  • Mariko Mochizuki … Kumi Saijô
  • Kunie Tanaka … Dr. Shimomura
  • Shin Kishida … The Principal
  • Katsuhiko Sasaki … Professor Yoshi
  • Mio Ôta … Yukiko Mitamura
  • Mika Katsuragi … Principal’s Wife
  • Keiko Aramaki … Kyôko Hayashi
  • Yûnosuke Itô … Takakura / Detective
  • Yasuko Agawa … Keiko Nonomiya, Student in Blue Sheer Negligee [as Tomoe Mari]

Image credits: Coffee Coffee and More CoffeeCool Ass Cinema

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