Vampire Hunter D is a franchise filled to the brim with spooks. From the pages of the original novels to the haunting imagery of Yoshitaka Amano's cover art, no matter what the iteration, there's always something scary about this half-vampire's adventures.
But perhaps some of the most frightening moments within the series come from the two anime film adaptations - Vampire Hunter D and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. With many of Japan's most exceptional animation talent involved, Hideyuki Kikuchi's stories come to life in beautiful detail - leaving audiences stunned with the chilling results. But which of these scenes are the most goosebump-inducing? To find that out, let's take a look at the 10 Scariest Moments in the Vampire Hunter D Movies.
10 D Versus The Three Sisters
There's always something equally stunning and creepy about siren-type characters - and when you have a trio like in Vampire Hunter D, they come across as quite the deadly group. In the scene, D comes across the Three Sisters, who appear as your typical sexy anime ladies - harps and all. But suddenly, their eyes begin to glow green and turn into snake-like creatures - trapping D in an attempt to suck all of his blood out of him.
Perhaps this sequence isn't the most shocking or terrifying, but a mixture of the sick imagery of the sisters and the claustrophobic nature of their actions, this scene lands on the list because it checks a few too many triggering boxes for viewers of any age.
9 Meier Link Kidnaps Charlotte
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust begins like many films of its genre - with a full moon out in the sky and a sprinkle of creepy tension within its first thrilling frame. In the opening, we meet the damsel at the center of the conflict - the young beauty, Charlotte. With her brown curls and piercing eyes, it is no wonder that the equally dashing but spooky vampire, Meier Link, would want to have Charlotte as his own.
With its thrilling score and excellent use of POV shots, this sequence makes the list just for being a great introduction. It gives audiences an understanding of D's world, while also paying beautiful homage to the classic vampires of cinema's past - who love their human conquests just as much as the blood within their veins.
8 The Maxus Brothers Entrance
Bloodlust likes to introduce its characters with a lot of high stakes action, and that is certainly the case when it comes to the Maxus Brothers' entrance into the narrative. Driving into an abandoned town, this group of hunters come across a man on the side of the road. When asking what has happened to the citizens, it becomes pretty clear that nothing seems right in this neighborhood - especially since said man tries to bite Borgoff Maxus' throat.
With brilliantly placed spooks, this moment lands on the list because it showcases how to use the element of surprise correctly. Sure, you know the kind of things you're going to see when vampires and zombies are involved - but seeing expert pacing by director Yoshiaki Kawajiri, this moment proves you're in the best of animated horror hands.
7 Doris Meets Magus Lee
At the beginning of Vampire Hunter D, we meet Doris Lang (the film's female protagonist) while she is on the lookout for local monsters. After she spots a werewolf who kills her horse, Doris encounters our main bad guy - a vampire named Magus Lee. And wouldn't you know it, he's got a "taste" for girls with braided hairstyles.
With director Toyoo Ashida's brilliantly choreographed lighting, this scene might not be the spookiest of them all on paper - but with the right placement of shadows, red-lit eyes, and well-paced reveals, you got yourself one heck of a terrifying opening to your movie.
6 D Enters A Monstery Space
In Vampire Hunter D, our titular hero enters a basic looking cave. Though any general audience member would likely guess nothing good resides in such a space, in the case of the one D enters, it contains some of the most disturbing and unique looking monsters seen in animation history.
Though not filled with any actions that are uniquely scary, moments like this make the list because of the fantastical creature designs. Featuring various kinds of creepy-crawlies, artist Yoshitaka Amano and animation director Toyoo Ashida's combined work in the character design department has left audiences for decades with many a monster-filled nightmare.
5 Leila vs. Caroline
Some of the best parts of Bloodlust are the fight sequences, like the battle between two of the most notable female characters in the film - Leila and Caroline. Each of them contains their own unique combat strengths and weaknesses, all of which combine to make some pretty thrilling animation.
But the reason this moment is on this scary list has to do with one specific part within this fight. Caroline has chameleon-like abilities - the kind that makes her easy to hide in the shadow. Pair that with her impressive tree blending skills, and she is one baddie you never want to hang with while in a rainstorm.
4 Magus and Doris' Wedding
Weddings can be pretty scary, but in this moment from 1985's Vampire Hunter D, the fears of such an event come to life in gruesome detail. In the scene, Magus Lee is finally going to make Doris his bride. There are the usual trimmings of a white wedding dress and a bouquet - but there are also monster cult groups and you know, a vampire trying to suck some blood.
What makes this scene particularly scary is how it juxtaposes the innocent beauty of Doris with the terrifying elements surrounding her. One moment will showcase her radiate glow, while the next will have a creature giving an aggressive look towards the camera. Pair that with a close-up on Magus' gross teeth, and you have one heck of a creepy on-screen ceremony.
3 Nolt's Shadow
In Bloodlust, Nolt Marcus and the rest of his bounty hunter group are on the hunt for the various monsters working for the vampire, Meier Link. When they believe they spotted one - known in the film as Benge - Nolt is suddenly stopped in his tracks. With blood dripping from his mouth, it seems that Benge has struck Nolt's shadow, thus violently killing him.
This moment is included in the list because, much like another scene mentioned, it checks a specific fear box. Perhaps things like Peter Pan's shadow having a personality freaked you out as a child. Well, thanks to sequences like this, the lingering anxiety of having to look behind your back as you walk alone at night may increase.
2 A Romantic Evening Gone Wrong
Perhaps one of the most captivating aspects of Bloodlust is the romantic tension between Meier and Charlotte. Sure, it isn't quite as over-the-top as the romances on The Vampire Diaries, but it certainly can tug on those gothic heartstrings. But when this couple's love is put to the test by Carmilla, the blood countess, then the spooky level is turned up to an all-time high.
In the moment, which is inter-cut with other subplots, Charlotte and Meier both have visions. Meier's involves seeing D holding Charlotte in his arms, which gets him cut in half. For Charlotte, she envisions Meier calling to her, as he finally sucks her blood. Beautifully animated, but incredibly gruesome, this scene sticks in your mind due to this lovely couple's bloody demise.
1 Carmilla Reborn
Following the moment mentioned above, this scene showcases the power of Carmilla. With her red hair and piercing eyes, this vampire ghost is as charming as she is a threat. In the scene, Charlotte's blood travels towards Carmilla's resting place and begins to fill her coffin. As her new body takes shape, her brutal attack on both D and Charlotte begins.
Though simple in description, with a memorable score by composer Marco D'Ambrosio, and the animation geniuses of studio Madhouse at the top of their game, this scene makes the list because it stands as a beautiful example of collaboration, and how when done correctly, it can create terrifying movie magic.