Confession: I spent the majority of Vampire Hunter D thoroughly puzzled. Not necessarily at the narrative – though its convoluted miasma of vampire aristocracy, big guns and faces-in-hands is a good distance from coherent – but at how little the film in question met my expectations. Didn’t I watch this a while ago? Didn’t it look a lot better than this? Wasn’t it less, well … dumb than this?
Turns out my confusion is easily explained – I’d gotten confused between 2000’s Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and this original film, which I’d never seen before. I kinda wish I had seen this before though; specifically, I wish I’d seen it when I was younger. Vampire Hunter D would’ve been catnip to pre-teen me: its mix of absurdly complex but largely nonsensical mythology, laughably unperceptive love story (complete with arbitrary shower scene) and gore-splattered violence is perfection to twelve-year-old me.
I would’ve been fascinated by the film’s now crude-looking visuals, too; the thick black shadows and post-apocalyptic fantasy vibe seems to have been ripped right out of dad’s rock record covers. Watching from a more “mature” perspective, those visuals are about the only thing about the film that still works. Stick to the sequel.