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Film / The Vampire Doll

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The Vampire Doll is a 1970 Japanese horror film from Toho.

Kazuhiko Sagawa is a young man who has returned to Japan after a stay in the US. After he tries to visit his fiancee Yuko Nonomura, he comes to find out that she passed away two weeks prior. Electing to stay at her mother's house for the night, Kazuhiko disappears after hearing Yuko's voice outside the window. His sister and her fiance end up trying to find him a couple days later, uncovering the Nonomura family's darkest secrets in the process...

This film contains examples of:

  • Big Bad: Dr. Yamaguchi, who killed most of the Nonomuras and is responsible for Yuko's vampirism.
  • The Brute: Genzo, Shibu's deaf-mute butler who's prone to extreme violence.
  • Death Seeker: After Kazuhiko discovers Yuko's undead, she asks him to kill her. As it turns out, this is because most of the time she's trapped in insanity due to her vampirism.
  • Disney Villain Death: Brutish manservant Genzo is thrown off a cliff while trying to kill Hiroshi.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The opening focuses on Kazuhiko Sagawa, who keeps seeing his thought-dead girlfriend. About ten minutes in he vanishes and the film shifts focus to his sister Keiko and her fiance Hiroshi's attempts to find him.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Hiroshi hears weeping, which Keiko at first assumes is just the wind.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Dr. Yamaguchi was engaged to Shibu, but after she left him for another man while he was off to war, he snapped and killed her entire family, fiance included.
  • My Car Hates Me: Invoked. Hiroshi deliberately damages his own car so it won't start and he and Keiko have an excuse to investigate the Nonomuras.
  • Never Trust a Title: The vampire is not a doll.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: These are created by hypnosis, which keeps them from dying but twists them into insanity that leaves them begging for death during brief moments of lucidity. They have an Undeathly Pallor except for the wounds that would have killed them, which are constantly bleeding. They're deathly cold, have Supernatural Gold Eyes, and can drink from both animals and humans. Releasing the hypnosis kills them within seconds, but it can only be done by the hypnotist willingly releasing them or the hypnotist dying.
  • Tragic Monster: Yuko Nonomura was an innocent woman constantly bullied for being the child of a murderer. She manages to find love with her fiance, but is killed in a car accident soon after. Her mother has her hypnotized in a desperate attempt to save her, but it twists her mind so all that's left is resentment for her mistreatment. Now, she's an insane vampire who drinks the blood of anybody she finds and in her lucid moments wants to die.
  • Unfinished Business: Dr. Yamaguchi describes a mortally-wounded soldier vowing that he wouldn't die until he saw the sea one last time. When Yamaguchi and the rest of the unit managed to reach said sea, he saw the soldier's ghost amongst them.