EVIL OF DRACULA
(Chi O Suu Bara)
Michio Yamamoto had clearly been inspired by the Hammer Dracula films and was attempting to replicate the same success for Japanese audiences. Evil of Dracula then is surely Michio Yamamotos equivalent of Hammers Lust for a Vampire (1971), a lesbian vampire film that was set in a girls boarding school. In both films, the lead character is a newly arrived male teacher who falls in love with one of the girls as he fights the menace that he discovers. [The film also borrows from Bram Stokers Dracula (1897), particularly the opening with the hero travelling with a sinister driver to the vampires lair through a land that it becomes increasingly apparent exists almost as another world. The appearance of the vampire down a broad staircase, before anticlimactically being revealed as a courtly host, also mimics the first appearance of Christopher Lee in Hammers Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958)].
In comparison to Lust for a Vampire, Evil of Dracula is much more sedate. Lust was overflowing with busty teenage girls in a ready state of undress but here Yamamoto has excised almost all suggestion of any sexual element. In this sense, Evil of Dracula comes much closer to the original repressions of Stokers Dracula, where the chief vampire, like Dracula, serves to turn the female victims into dangerous forces who are occasionally imbued with sensual interest. (Although symptomatic of just how sexually sedate a film this is, at most the vampire women here express enjoyment at having their necks bitten). This is a vampire film that very much buys into traditional conservative patrilineage the other important change between this and Lust is that the vampire is not a lesbian schoolgirl but a predatory headmaster. The female vampires are never their own characters, as much as they are catspaws of the lead male vampire. When one of them is found out, rather than turn and attack, she merely jumps over the stairs to her death; others are in the habit of dying when their master is injured; and the character of the principals wifes only ambition is to steal the face of the girl that the hero loves so as that she can pose as her (quite why, is never explained. Nor for that matter why the principal is so set on the hero becoming his successor. Ei Ogawas scripts for Michio Yamamotos vampire films were always a little weak on motivation and rationale).
The other interesting theme that runs through Michio Yamamotos films is the sense of the vampire as a foreign polluter of Japanese blood. In this case, the vampire is specifically identified as a foreign Christian traveller who was forced to surrender his faith in a foreign land and became cursed as a result. Later we get an additional, slightly incongruous explanation about the vampire having become a demon after drinking his own blood out of thirst in the desert and then taking to attacking other victims. Yamamoto succeeds in generating a fair degree of atmosphere and builds the film toward a reasonable climax.
Clip from the film here:-