The Vampire Doll: A Strange, Eerie Meld of Japanese, Western Horror

[Castle of Horror] The Vampire Doll: Japanese Horror Blends Poe, Uni, Hammer And Makes Something New

In this episode, the Castle of Horror team looks at the first film in the Bloodthirsty Trilogy, a tryptic of supernatural horror films from Japanese director Michio Yamamoto. This week: The Vampire Doll (1970), about a girl who goes looking for her missing brother at a spooky mansion haunted by a murderous vampire ghost. Yamamoto's series is a strange vision that mixes Japanese film and folklore with motifs, images and themes borrowed from American and British horror. The Vampire Doll kicks off with the plot of Roger Corman's House of Usher, borrows thrills from The Old Dark House, nicks a twist from Tales of Terror, and lifts a color scheme (and castle design) from Horror of Dracula. But where it goes is distinct and distinctly bonkers, giving us more than the sum of its parts.

But of the entire Bloodthirsty Trilogy, which has been released on Blu-Ray, The Vampire Doll is the one that feels the most folkloric and visually based in the vocabulary of distinctly non-western ghost stories, whereas the other two films (Evil of Dracula and Lake of Dracula) feel very much like Hollywood movies shot in Japan. This is a gorgeous, chilling, often disturbing film.

As we look towards the publication of another Castle of Horror Anthology, where authors deliver different horror stories inspired by themes from around the world, we'll be ranging far and wide for offbeat films to discuss. Join us!

[Castle of Horror] The Vampire Doll: Japanese Horror Blends Poe, Uni, Hammer And Makes Something New [Castle of Horror] The Vampire Doll: Japanese Horror Blends Poe, Uni, Hammer And Makes Something New

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Castle of Horror Podcast:

The Team: Hosted by Jason Henderson, author of Young Captain Nemo and editor of the upcoming Castle of Horror Anthology; Featuring Drew Edwards, creator of Halloween Man; Tony Salvaggio, lead singer of the band Deserts of Mars, lead guitarist of the band Rise from Fire, and co-creator of Clockwerx from Humanoids; attorney Julia Guzman of Guzman Immigration of Denver; and Jamie Bahr, lead singer and upright bassist of the rock and roll band Danger*Cakes.

About Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson, author of the Young Captain Nemo (Macmillan Children's) and Alex Van Helsing (HarperTeen) series, earned his BA from University of Dallas in 1993 and his JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1996. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

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