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Vampire Hunter D: The Test Dub

This was one of those projects that was never really meant to be, but which we chased for a good while anyway. The idea had been brought up at an after-meeting dinner in the days of the old C/FO club, around 1988, when one of the members had proposed the idea of acquiring the rights to the "D" film and doing a faithful adaptation in English, which would have made it pretty much the first one in those times. I volunteered to do the translation, but after a few months of hearing no updates at all from the guy whose idea it had been, it was set aside. In 1990, myself and C.B. pulled the idea back off the shelf and began writing a script that would fit the lip movements of the characters while still staying true to the original dialogue, hoping we could show a few completed scenes to potential backers as a demonstration of what we could do. Unfortunately, what we could do amounted to very little considering our almost total lack of any real recording equipment, and back on the shelf it went.

A few years later, we heard that Streamline Pictures was preparing to do a dub of the film, and we briefly considered selling them our script. Very briefly, because a scant day later we heard that the dub had in fact already been completed, and the film was being screened in some out-of-state theaters. That seemed to be the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, for "D", until we saw the Streamline dub.

It wasn't that it was particularly worse than any other Streamline dub, but after all our work on our own script, we were dismayed at the lack of care that had gone into theirs. Not only did it stray off the original in many places, but the lip-sync sucked big donkey dick, despite Carl Macek's much-self-publicised commitment to "fricatives" and "plosives" and blah blah blah; whole phrases would be squeezed into single syllables at times. So more out of sheer cussedness than anything else, we decided to go ahead with our dub anyhow.

We had a six-track mixer and a digital sound processor by that time, and quickly threw together the "Corn Pone Foam Cove" to do recording in, called up a few friends to play the various parts, and slung the whole thing together in about four days (and not four years, as the mindlessly confused rumors spread by A.D. Visions' Matt Greenfield would claim at one subsequent convention.) We had to rebuild all the sound effects and music largely from scratch and an old cassette copy of the film's soundtrack, which was tricky but more or less a success, and we did what is still probably our best sound recording ever on this project, which was screened at Project A-kon IV in the summer of '93, about three days after completion.

This one and only showing of the dub drew a lot of compliments from the audience, who seemed impressed at the quality of the dubbing and translation, but who knows; perhaps it blew chunks of half-digested rat flesh, and no one was straightforward enough to tell us so to our faces. Taking people at their word, it would seem we had done a good job, and one con-goer (who may have been [and could remain to be] Carl Horn) was heard to later call our dub "an embarrassment to Streamline," though it could scarcely match Streamline's own attempts at self-embarrassment, which were copius and resoundingly successful.

Two years later, at Project A-kon VI, Carl Macek told us he wouldn't have had any problem if we had dubbed and distributed the whole film, so long as we didn't do so for profit. Would've been fine by us, but by then, Alara Rogers, who had played the female lead, had long since moved away, and the Foam Cove had been dismantled to make room for Ozone Commandos sets, so that option was off the menu permanently. At any rate, it spared us the difficulty of finding some old dude to play the Count.

Although we've never officially distributed this dub, a few copies seem to have leaked out through some of our associates. We briefly toyed with the idea of turning it into a documentary on dubbing, but never got around to it, what with a few gazillion other ideas crowding it out of our minds. Oh well. At least we don't have communist control here.

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