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Chi o Suu Bara

Evil of Dracula
The Bloodthirsty Roses / Bloodsucking Rose

Japan 1974
produced by
Fumio Tanaka for Toho
directed by Michio Yamamoto
starring Toshio Kurosawa, Mariko Mochizuki, Kunie Tanaka, Shin Kishida, Katsuhiko Sasaki, Mio Ohta, Mika Katsuragi, Keiko Aramaki, Yunosuke Ito, Yasuko Agawa, Susugu Katayama, Haruo Suzuki, Tadao Futami, Midori Takei
written by Ei Ogawa, Masaru Takesue, music by Riichiro Manabe, special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano

Bloodthirsty Trilogy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Shiraki (Toshio Kurosawa) comes to work at a boarding school in the country, which he's to take over as principal the next term - but right the first night which he spends at the current principal's (Shin Kishida) house he grows rather suspicious of the whole school, the situation not made any better by his nightmares about vampires and the fact that the principal keeps his dead wife (Mika Katsuragi) in a coffin in the basement.

The next day, he learns from the school doctor Shimimura (Kunie Tanaka) that the whole place is under some kind of shock after a girl has disappeared not too long ago. Soon enough, another girl, Kyoko (Keiko Aramaki), disappears, but returns a short time later, like in trance - and her breast bears bitemarks. The doctor is quick to fill Shiraki in on a legend about vampires in the region, and the two quickly come to the conclusion that the principal himself has to be the head vampire - and becoming a vampire comes with the job of being principal apparently, which is why a former contender went crazy rather than taking over the school actually.

Eventually, the summer holidays approach, and all girls boarding at the school return home, all but three: Kyoko, still in a trance, Yukiko (Mia Ota) and Kumi (Mariko Mochizuki) - and Shiraki and the doctor have taken it upon themselves to guard the girls with their lives - but they have taken a bigger bite than they can swallow, as soon the principal attacks the school and takes Kyoko with him, kills the doctor following him and manages to bite Yukiko without anyone even noticing.

Thing is, the actual target of the principal and his undead wife's attacks is actually Shiraki, as they need his body with him being the designated principal ...

 

Like the other films of the Bloodthirsty Trilogy, this one's more rooted in Western genre movies than Japanese horror traditions, and this one again borrows heavily from Hammer horrors, and not only their vampire movies. And while the result might not be wholly original, it's nevertheless a nice blend of murder mystery (with traces of the giallo genre), ghost story and vampire movie (more than a little influenced by Bram Stoker's Dracula) that uses a deliberately slow pace to build up tension and atmosphere - and for the most part, the film works quite well. Sure, the Western-style vampire with a cape looks a little out of place in a Japanese movie, and some of the film's plot elements, twists and effects are childish at best, but overall this one works quite well as a traditional vampire flick, nothing great perhaps, but a very entertaining trip down memory lane.

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD