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VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST- reviewed by
Mark Vallen
© Sept. 2001
 
 

I saw Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust at it's Premier on August 24th 2001 at the world famous Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Based on the novel by Kikuchi Hideyuki, this latest production from the prestigious Madhouse Studio of Japan is a retelling of the original Vampire Hunter D anime classic. Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Wicked City, Lensman) has crafted a Gothic Vampire story the likes of which film buffs have never seen before, and the medium of animation grandly brings to life on the silver screen a vision impossible to replicate as live action.
D... the Hunter
D... the Hunter
D... the Hunter
D... the Hunter

In the film, the wealthy Elbourne family contracts the services of bounty hunters to rescue their kidnapped Daughter Charlotte from the clutches of an Aristocratic Vampire named Meier Link. The Elbourne's hire a motley crew of Professional Vampire Killers (the Markus Brothers) to track down Meier. To assure success, the Elbournes also employ D, a mysterious and much feared Dunpeal (a Human - Vampire half-breed).

The bounty hunters race against each other to see who can first overtake Meier and recapture the lovely Charlotte. No one realizes that Charlotte has willingly run away with Meier and that the two are lovers.

During the chase, the hunters become the hunted. The Barbarois (a clan of Demons loyal to Meier), do everything within their power to stop the aggresive bounty hunters, and their malevolent interference provides some of the films best moments. From the seductive Caroline (who shape shifts into a deadly tree), to the pale and Marilyn Manson-like Benge (who can turn himself into a shadow), the Barbarois are outrageous villains worthy of being cast in a John Carpenter film.
Meier Link and Charlotte
Meier Link and Charlotte
Meier Link and Charlotte
Meier Link and Charlotte
Vampire Hunter, D.
Vampire Hunter, D.
Vampire Hunter, D.
Vampire Hunter, D.

Director Kawajiri's "Bloodlust" mixes the Romantic Gothic Vampire stories of Anne Rice, the futuristic apocalyptic visions of George Miller (Road Warrior), and the Italian Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly).

That makes for one "over the top" anime action film... yet, "Bloodlust" is also infused with the sensibilities of the shoujo genre (girl's manga or anime). Most of the male characters are oddly attractive, and D just might be the ultimate bishounen (beautiful boy). Lonely, forelorn, and devastatingly handsome, the undead anti-hero possesses human compassion and heart.

The Producer of Vampire Hunter is Yamamoto Mataichiro, who gave us the shoujo animated classic, The Rose of Versailles. The fast paced, action oriented storyline of Vampire Hunter is combined with stunningly imaginative character designs, background paintings, and superlative animation. While certainly not on the level of Bram Stokerís Dracula, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust does add a new twist to the genre of Vampire movies... and for that alone it is worthy of praise.

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