Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Vampire Hunter DConfession: 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.

1.5 stars

2 thoughts on “Vampire Hunter D (1985)

  1. I know what you mean about wishing you’d watched this film first. I got a copy of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust for my 15th birthday, and loved it. It’s still one of my favourite films… so when I spotted this one on DVD, I snapped it up. Could barely bring myself to watch the whole thing.

    Though I suppose if I’d seen this first, it may have ruined any interest I had in Bloodlust, So, potential upside there I guess.

    • True, but I feel like if I, personally, had caught it around 13 years old I would’ve thought it was great (or, at least, okay) and then been blown away by Bloodlust. I guess I’ll never know!

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