Five year old Akiko Kashiwagi (Midori Fujita) is playing by the ocean with her dog. The dog runs away and the child chases after it. The dog runs into a spooky looking house. Akiko finds an old man (Hideji Otaki) standing outside the house. He tries to grab her but she runs away from him and follows the dog into the house. Inside she sees a woman at a piano. The woman falls to the floor dead. On the stairs she sees a man with pale white skin and yellow eyes (Shin Kishida).
Eighteen years later Akiko is now a teacher. She and her sister Natsuko (Sanae Emi) are living near a lake. Akiko has strange dreams from time to time about yellow eyes. Believing her experience was a dream she decided to paint the vision she keeps having hoping to somehow dispel it. She takes her dog Leo for a walk down to talk to Kyusaku (Kaku Takahina) the boathouse manager. The lock on her back door is broken and she asks if he can fix it for her. He says he will be by after dinner to tend to it.
While they are talking a truck pulls up. The driver has Kyusaku help him take a large crate off the back. The driver than abruptly leaves. Akiko goes back home and Kyusaku drags the crate into the boathouse. He calls the freight company trying to find out why the crate was delivered. They know nothing about it. He pries open the crate to find it contains a white coffin. Kyusaku is attacked by the coffin’s owner, the same vampire that Akiko met when she was a child.
Akiko gets scared when she sees a strange man at Kyusaku’s boathouse. All the next day little things seem to spook her. Natsuko suggests that she call her boyfriend and have him come over for dinner. Akiko’s boyfriend is Doctor Takashi Saeki (Choei Takahashi). Before he can leave he is called to handle and emergency. A woman is brought in that has bite marks on her neck and is missing most of her blood. When the vampire mentally summons her a hospital guard tries to stop her. The woman dies when she trips over a railing and falls to her death. The family has her immediately cremated.
At home Akiko’s dog Leo goes missing. She finally finds him dead. Kyusaku suddenly appears and attacks Akiko. She is knocked unconscious. Kyusaku brings her back to the boathouse where the vampire is waiting for her. He is interrupted by two guys who show up looking to rent a boat. The next night the vampire attacks Natsuko.
The girl that Takashi had been treating lived near Akiko. After his experience with the girl at the hospital Takashi is beginning to believe Akiko’s story about the bizarre things going on around her house. Something strange is definitely going on and what Akiko experienced as a young child is at the center of the mysterious events.
“Lake of Dracula” was released in 1971 and was directed by Michio Yamamoto. It is a Japanese vampire movie. There are several Japanese vampire movies. The first that I’m aware of is “The Vampire Doll” 1970. It is part of what is known as the Bloodthirsty Trilogy. Produced by Fumio Tanaka the trilogy consists of “The Vampire Doll” 1970, “Lake of Dracula” 1971 and “Evil of Dracula” 1974.
Tanaka was interested in doing a Hammer style horror movie and director Yamamoto wanted to do a thriller. What came about was a decent gothic style vampire movie. Not quite Hammer but it reflects an interesting style that works well with the horror genre. There were a few too many jump scares but the overall vibe of the film is decently eerie. The trilogy was finally released to DVD in 2018.
I liked the film. The acting was good and Shin Kishida was quite Dracula-esque as the vampire du jour. Akiko’s boyfriend Takashi wasn’t a total prick like most of them are. He came around quickly when it came to believing all the strange stuff Akiko was experiencing. The music score by Riichiro Manabe was different but actually added a lot of great atmosphere to the movie. The whole film was put together well. It was a lot of fun to watch and not campy as you would expect. It was a good addition to the vampire genre.