VAMPIRE HUNTER D - 2000 aka VAMPIRE HUNTER D: Bloodlust - 2001
Urban Vision Entertainment
Rated: USA: NA
On a full moonlit night, four black horses with glowing red eyes pound through a graveyard
staked with hundreds of crosses, pulling a carriage which bears a lone
driver cloaked in shadows. Entering a town, its passenger affects everything
he roars past: fountain water turns to ice, flowers wilt and die, a mirror
cracks. And a young woman is taken from her bed, her home, and her family.
This is a scene that
invokes classic Hammer horror, but more rapid, more assured. Its
a moment that would easily fall into cliché.
Except that this is VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST, and not only does it surpass the original 1985 film in terms of quality
and content, but its one of the best animated adventure films (for
mature audiences), and the best vampire film Ive seen in the past decade.
Earths distant future, vampires once ruled as aristocracy, but are
now facing extinction at the hands of bounty hunters acting on behalf
of humanity, as well as monetary profit. In the ruins of a desert village,
a family hires D (Andrew Philpot, TENCHI: THE MOVIE),
a vampire hunter, to find Charlotte (Wendee Lee,
DIGIMON: THE MOVIE), who was abducted by a vampire. The father
begs D to return his daughter to him alive - or dead in the event that
she has been turned.
Unfortunately, because D is a dhampire (or dunpeal as its written in the opening narration), the offspring of a vampire and
a human being, he is not entirely trusted by the humans. During his "employment
interview," dozens of townsfolk have rifles trained on him.
D also learns that he has competition. His employers previously hired a
gang of hunters possessing superhuman abilities who hunt their quarry
in an armored truck covered in crucifixes. Led by Bargoff (Matt
McKenzie: SPAWN [TV]), a lightning quick archer, this punk rock-dressed
team includes: feisty, impetuous Leila (Pamela Segall:
SPAWN [TV]), blade wielding Kyle (Alex Fernandez:
SPAWN [TV]), strongman Nolt (John DiMaggio), and the mysterious, unwell Grove (Jack
Fletcher: AEON FLUX, SPAWN [TV]). The new VAMPIRE
HUNTER D: BLOODLUST should make John Carpenter's VAMPIRES envious.
Of course D crosses paths with Bargoffs crew throughout the story, specifically with
Leila, who becomes intrigued with the dhampires more human characteristics
and learns to question her own prejudicial beliefs.
Their mutual prey is Meier Link (John Rafter Lee: AEON
FLUX, SPAWN [TV]), a vampire who spends more time fleeing his pursuers
than combating them, and safeguarding his precious cargo. By day he is
protected by the Barberoy, a clan of super-powered mutants who have sworn
allegiance to the vampire. His destination is the castle of the vampire
(Julia Fletcher, possibly named for Sheridan Le
Fanus creation?), whose spirit wanders its halls offering
asylum to the children of the night.
And with all of these adversaries to deal with, D must also contend with his
dual nature as a dhampire, which hes always being reminded of by
the Symbiot (Mike McShane) - a separate entity
within D who appears as a face on his left hand - and the bigotry of the
humans around him.
This new VAMPIRE HUNTER D film with art direction and designs courtesy of Yutaka
Minowa (NINJA SCROLL), Ken Koike, Yasushi
Nirasawa, and Yuji Ikehata (AKIRA) expands
upon the world first glimpsed in its predecessor, creating a much broader
scope in landscape. Striking Gothic architecture stands out, as does the
numerous settings including deserts, forests, industrial ruins, water-filled
gardens, cobble-stone street villages, castles, and Old West frontier
towns (reminiscent of the locales of Sergio Leones
Dollars Trilogy). Watching D ride his horse down a collapsed highway
exit ramp onto a desert floor, then past the remnants of the antenna dishes
of the Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, provides a post-apocalyptic
future vision that one can recognize.
D is interpreted in a fashion closer to Yoshitaka Amanos (GATCHAMAN,
the graphic novel Sandman: The Dream Hunters, and the video game character
designs for FINAL FANTASY) original ethereal design of the character
than the first film, cloaking him entirely in black and making the face
of the Symbiot into a more ghoulish countenance. The look of the vampires
range from grotesque undead things to beautiful and androgynous creatures
like Meier and Carmila, marking a contrast thats ignored by the
hunters in their obsession to destroy them all.
directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (NINJA SCROLL, BIOHUNTER, WICKED CITY, THE
ANIMATRIX: Program), and based on the third Kyuuketsuki Hantaa
"D" novel, Yousatsukou ("Demon Deathchase"),
in the series by Hideyuki Kikuchi, this is a cross genre fans delight.
Its all in here: horror, fantasy, science fiction, western, and even a touch
of romance. The script is a great blend of action and humor that touches
on themes of prejudice and honor.
The diverse cast of characters each display personality quirks and evolve
as the story progresses. The vampire hunter gang in particular gives us
a father figure in Bargoff, a lovesick Grove, and a sibling rivalry between
Kyle and Leila. The Symbiots one-liners turn this bizarre, unexplained
creature into a scene stealer.
D isnt as preachy here as he was in the original film and is truly
a man who can be judged by his actions. His feelings towards Leila, although
obvious, dont consume him like they did with Doris. But over the
years, he too has become prejudicial and must face this truth within himself.
Unlike most translated Japanese animation, this English language version - written
by Ellen Moore, and adapted and directed by Jack Fletcher - works on every
level. The voice actors are appropriately cast, and the script, which
could have fallen into bleak soliloquies by its characters, is full of
humorous moments that creates a polarity against the horrors the protagonists
VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST gets my highest recommendation. This is
copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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Paul V.W. says:
was privileged to see this film at The
Directors Guild of America Theater in Manhattan for the
Film Festival on
October 7, 2000."
told the audience that
VAMPIRE HUNTER D (2000)
is still a work in progress. Judging
by the enthusiastic
reaction of the
audience - a full house of Anime fans -
Urban Vision has a
winner on their
for cast and crew information.
Thanks also for the use of Vampire Hunter D (2000) images
from the Urban
The folks who run
VAMPIRE HUNTER D
helped me with the proper spellings of the characters names.