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Lake of Dracula (Japan, 1971)

Alternative Titles:

Noroi no yakata: Chi o sû me (Japan main title)
The Bloodthirsty Eyes (UK alternative title)
Bloodsucking Eyes
Dracula's Lust for Blood (USA Promotional title)
Lake of Death (1973 - USA)

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Video Certificate:
Directed By:
Michio Yamamoto
Mori Kishida, Midori Fujita, Osahide Takahashi, Sanae Emi, Kaku Takashina
Japanese (English subtitles)

In the same Vein:
Legacy of Dracula (The Bloodthirsty Doll) (1970)
- Plot wise, a non related film (First in the 'Bloodthirsty' trilogy) by the same director.
Evil of Dracula (The Bloodthirsty Roses) (1974)
- A non related 'sequel' (third in the 'Bloodthirsty' trilogy) by the same director.
Horror of Dracula (1958)
- Many Scenes of which were lifted or reworked for this film.

Tag line:

"A Bloodbath of

"A pair of Bizarre thriller chillers to SHATTER the nerves of even the very BRAVEST!"

"The Horror of Dracula in a new and even greater tale of terror!"

The film opens very Wizard of Oz like, with a little girl walking around with her little dog Leo. The dog runs away and the girl chases it, and stumbles upon a creepy house. Inside she finds a woman at a piano, but when she touches it, the body swings round - and she sees it is a corpse. She then looks up to find this commanding man with blood around his mouth... then she wakes up.

Cut to present day (18 years later) where Akiko is now an artist. She lives with her sister Natsuko and is staying at this lakeside cottage to paint. The painting is rather abstract - a giant golden eye above a landscape which is supposedly to exorcise her demons from this recurring nightmare. A mysterious coffin arrives at a nearby house and suddenly people are being found dead with puncture wounds on their neck. People around Akiko begin to change - the local handyman Kyusaku tries to rape her and her sister is acting very oddly indeed.

It becomes apparent that her dream is more than just a nightmare, it is a childhood memory. With the aid of her boyfriend Dr. Saeki, Akiko must try to remember what happened on that horrifying day in her childhood in order to face the current evil.

Mori Kishida plays Dracula (though never actually referred to as Dracula) and is clearly influenced by the Hammer tradition. He is a dark and powerful, dominant man with a terrifying gaze. He casts no reflection, bites women on the neck, sleeps in a coffin and can only be killed by fire or a stake through the heart. Dracula doesn't say much though, he mostly growls.

Dracula's Demise:
Dracula falls off a balcony and is impaled on a banister, which just happened to be in the right place to spear him through the heart (yeah right). The disintegration scene is completely lifted from
Horror of Dracula (1958)

Osahide Takahashi plays Dr. Saeki Takashi, Akiko's boyfriend. He is in almost every sense the standard hero of this type of film. The one thing which I found rather odd was his changing attitude. Like any doctor/scientist he doesn't at first believe in vampires, yet when it seems like Akiko is going mad he suddenly believes, and takes her half formed ramblings, and the fact that bodies are turning up at his hospital with puncture wounds on their neck, to their logical conclusion - vampire. This is all turned upside down when he comes face to face with Dracula, and he reverts back to his disbelief. Claiming that Dracula is a man who believes he is a vampire. Huh? A few minutes ago he totally believed!

Kyysaku (Kaku Takashina) is the local handyman. He gets bitten by Dracula and becomes very pale and savage. He kills Akiko's dog and tries to rape her.

Love Interest:

The sensuality of the vampire story is really played down in this adaptation. There is no real sexual attraction between Dracula and Akiko, or indeed any of his brides. This makes his character rather one dimensional - growling monster. I'm not saying there should be copious amounts of nudity and gratuitous cleavage shots, just that some sort of chemistry would have given this film more depth.

Akiko and Natsuka are sisters and there is some tiny hint that they are both in love with Dr. Saeki but this is never explored, a great shame as I feel it would have heightened the tension. Akiko admits she was jealous of her sister and making her a rival in love would have taken this idea a step farther.

Kyusaku tries to rape Akiko in the Caliban/Miranda idea. This does seem rather odd considering the lack of sexuality in the rest of the film.

High Points:

There is one quite atmospheric scene where Akiko is hiding from Dracula in a wardrobe. She looks through the keyhole, sees it is all clear and comes out. Whereupon Dracula comes towards her - she'd been staring into the mirror and of course Dracula casts no reflection.

The opening 'dream/memory' sequence is well done, Particularly when Akiko goes over to the woman at the piano and discovers she is a corpse.

Low Points:

Like its predecessor
Legacy of Dracula (The Bloodthirsty Doll) one of the major problems with this is a purely technical issue. The picture is very dark and you can't always see what's going on. The scenes in the daylight are fine, but this is a vampire film where lots happens at night and the picture is very gloomy indeed.

This is in Japanese and subtitled. Its never going to get the audience it deserves. Since so many western viewers are arrogant when it comes to watching subtitled films! (OK rant over) Its presented in widescreen so the subtitles are clear and reasonably unobtrusive. However, I'm not sure how good the translation is. The actors seem to speak great chunks of dialogue and when the subtitle appears it is only a single line (I think the dialogue has been simplified considerably.) Not only is the dialogue rather uninspired (its ok, but nothing amazing) but there are points in the film that really don't make sense, and I'm not sure if this is because they just don't make sense, or because its a bad translation.

Logic let me introduce you...

In the dream Akiko has a small dog with floppy ears - some kind of Spaniel I think. When we see her all grown up the dog has turned into a German Shepherd - yet we are supposed to believe it is the same dog - Since Leo is the point of connection between these two scenes it seems very daft to have two very different looking dogs.

SPOILERS FOLLOW: in the final scene there is a confrontation between Akiko and Saeki and Dracula. Dracula is winning when his father (whom we have just seen as a rotting corpse) manages to gain the strength to grab his ankle and throw him off balance. How does that work? He was dead!... More than that he was decaying! His hand fell off when Saeki was pulling him round. If he, like his son is an undead vampire then he'd surely be evil or under Dracula's thrall... And how could he grab him anyway? he had no hand!

I'm confused over the whole turning into a vampire mechanism. I think that Dracula bites a victim and they become partially turned (enough to do his will), but they then have to die to be resurrected as a vampire, with fangs (exemplified by Natsuka). If this is the case then what happens to Kyusaku and the farm girl? They have been bitten by Dracula (but don't seem to have fangs) and they die (one falls from a great height and the other is struck by lightening). Yet they seem to be just that - dead. There is no indication that they have been resurrected as vampires.

Bad titling again. The UK incarnation as 'Lake of Dracula' is hardly inspiring. What's Dracula's lake going to do with you? Drown you? The Lake barely features at all. Though at least this film does feature Dracula.... Its literal translation of the Bloodthirsty Eyes is rather weird. Again, although there is lots of 'eye' imagery that is not the focal point of the film.

Arty Effects:

The ending of the dream sequence you get a series of iconic images. Akiko touches the woman at the piano which springs round revealing that she is a corpse, then you see Dracula with blood around his mouth. This is followed by a close up of his yellow eye. The shot then turns into negative in blue and red, and the title of the film appears over the negative eye.

Throughout the film are images of 'eyes' Dracula has yellow eyes, the painting is of a giant eye and the clock also features an eye.

Say What? Cool Quotes:

Biggest Sign of Imminent Doom (when Dracula Says:)

"Don't be afraid young Lady, I've taken a liking to you"

Second Biggest Sign of Imminent Doom:

"Go on, I'll be ok, I'm not a child!"

Toto we're not in Kansas anymore:

"We've become involved in an unnatural world. Nobody will believe us"

X-files moment

"We must find out. The truth is out there"

The translator's a poet, but doesn't know it:

"I can't forget that eye, I don't know why."


The Bloodthirsty Trilogy is Japan's answer to Hammer and each film resembles and borrows from a Hammer film. This one takes elements from
Horror of Dracula .

Anorak Connections:

Director Michio Yamamoto also gave us
Legacy of Dracula (1970) and Evil of Dracula(1974)

Kaku Takashina (Kyusaku) the Renfield character plays a similar role in
Legacy of Dracula (1970) as the Nonomura's deaf and dumb servant Genzo.

Did you Know:

There is a band called "Lake of Dracula" though I don't think it has any relevance to the film.

Gratuity Rating:
Sex/Nudity: None

Bites: plus at least 3 more unseen


Human deaths:

Humans Turned:

Vampire deaths:

Other deaths: dog

Final Word:

Lake of Dracula is in my opinion the weakest (and yet the most famous) of the 'Bloodthirsty' Trilogy. It has a great concept (girl encountering vampire when young, and having to relive that memory) and yet a terrible plot - honestly very little happens. The film is very slow and dark and fails to engage for the full 82 minute run time. Its not nearly as atmospheric or eerie as its predecessor
Legacy of Dracula (The Bloodthirsty Doll). Saying that bits of it, like the corpse at the piano are rather good.

The dialogue in both sub and dub is functional and rather flat. The film owes a great debt to what has gone before, particularly the hammer films, but in the end that is rather a disappointment. This has a really original idea and just ends up ripping off
Horror of Dracula. There are logical inconsistencies and a good many missed opportunities. The film fails to have any sexual tension at all between any characters which would have really given this some depth.

Verdict: 4/10


Come one come all Mortals who are willing to stick their neck out for a vampire to feed upon.  We will be willing to share our Dark Gift to you mortals if you pass our test.

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