Today’s selection: Vampire Doll (1970, dir. Michio Yamamoto)
Available from: Warrior (R2 UK DVD, fansubs also available)
Also called The Bloodthirsty Doll and Legacy of Dracula, this is the first of Toho’s Bloodthirsty trilogy (also called their Dracula trilogy, despite not having much, if any, Dracula), though the lack of continuity between films makes this a thematic trilogy rather than a narrative one. The series is clearly inspired by the Hammer horror films that were popular at the time, especially in Japan, as gothic vampire yarns complete with old dark houses and bright red stage blood. The female vampire of the first (and arguably most enjoyable) installment is a minor icon of Toho horror, as her glowing eyes and maniacal smile are unforgettable. There’re no male vampires in the movie (let alone Dracula), but the film should appeal to fans of Christopher Lee-era Drac films.