A scene from THE TOMB OF DRACULA, directed by Okazaki Minoru for Toei Inc.

The Tomb of Dracula (1980, Okazaki Minoru)

I read somewhere the Japanese started producing anime because there was no way to combat live action American imports. With its narration and lame plotting (it somehow isn’t epical–maybe because Tomb of Dracula was produced for television, complete with convenient commercial breaks), it’s an awful way spend ninety minutes. Unfortunately the entire cast isn’t credited, so I can’t properly ridicule the terrible voice acting.

The script’s a huge problem too–the film’s adapted from the comic book (maybe the first direct adaptation of a comic book in terms of its actual narrative and not just the concepts) and it picks the lame part of the series to adapt. I mean, there’s some idiotic writing, but still, the source material was competently told (at best) and beautifully illustrated. Not exactly the best thing to adapt.

But with all the shortcuts the film takes to make Dracula a likable character, it turns all the vampire hunters into moronic villains. It’s hard to say who’s a more suspicious character, the twenty-five-foot tall Satan monster or the primary vampire hunter, Hans Harker (the Hans thing can’t help but make one think German and the guy comes off as less human than the vampires).

It’s a completely nonsensical waste of time; if one wants to see a Dracula adaptation resemble a “Peanuts” cartoon, I guess it’s an all right way to go. But it kills brain cells one after the other. It’s so exceptionally bad. I wonder if all anime’s so lousy?



Directed by Okazaki Minoru; screenplay by Yamazaki Tadaaki, based on the Marvel Comics comic book by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Tom Palmer and inspired by a novel by Bram Stoker; music by Yokoyama Seiji; released by Toei Animation.

Starring Ted Layman as Dracula and narrated by Stan Jones.


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