Movies You Have Not Seen But Should: Vampire Hunter D


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Vampire Hunter D

Welcome back to Movies You Have Not Seen But Should. In time for Halloween, we have a fitting film to cover. This week we will look at the 1985 Japanese anime classic Vampire Hunter D.

The film takes place in a post apocalyptic world in 12,090 AD. There exists a caste system between nobility ruled by vampires and human peasants. One such human, Doris Lang, daughter of deceased werewolf hunter, ends up being attacked by Count Magnus Lee. Count Lee is a 10,000 year old vampire who wants Doris to be his vampire bride. She tries to defend herself from the count along with the other vampires who serve under him.

Then Doris runs into D, a mysterious vampire hunter. D himself holds a secret. He is part vampire. Doris hires D to protect her and her brother Dan from Count Lee and the vampires that serve under him. Doris ends up being captured and D has to go to Count Lee’s castle to rescue her. In the midst of this, he has to fight not only the count but also the count’s daughter Lamica and servant Rei Ginsei. D has to overcome these foes along with his struggle with his own vampirism in order to rescue Doris and keep her from turning into a vampire.

Like many anime films, Vampire Hunter D is an adaptation. It began as a series of novels that first began in 1983 and now spans 25 books. The film is based on the first novel. Being an adaptation, there are several differences between the film and the novel. Many of these differences are changes in how events play out and some character traits. However, the basic story is the same in both versions.
The film released in Japan on December 21, 1985. It was one of the first anime films to release outside of Japan, coming to the States in the early 1990s with an English dubbing. The English dub features several character voice actors. These actors include Michael McConnohie (who also voiced Cosmos/Tracks on the old Transformers cartoon) as D and Barbara Goodson (who also voiced Rita Repulsa on the TV show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) as Doris. The film has developed a cult like status with Western audiences. It is also a film that has a favorable view among critics with a 83% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Vampire Hunter D is available on DVD. However, it is out of print at the moment so it’ll be hard to find but it is worth searching out a copy. It is a film that would be fitting to watch on Halloween. It is a classic anime film that you may not have seen, but you should.

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