Kuroneko (1968)

Kuroneko [藪の中の黒猫, Yabu no Naka no Kuroneko] (1968)
AKA Black Cat

Starring Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kiwako Taichi, Kei Sato, Taiji Tonoyama, Rokko Toura, Hideo Kanze, Eimei Esumi, Masashi Oki, Rika Mizuki

Directed by Kaneto Shindo

Expectations: High, Onibaba was awesome.


Kaneto Shindo achieved overseas artistic success with Onibaba, and Kuroneko sees him returning to the horror genre that propelled his career. In many ways, Kuroneko echoes the characters and themes of Onibaba, but it never seems cheap, instead coming off almost like a ghost story version of Onibaba. Where Onibaba was concerned with a mother and her daughter-in-law’s struggle for survival, Kuroneko focuses on a mother and daughter-in-law who are raped and killed within the opening scene of the film. Their spirits are reawakened by their black cat, and they vow to drink the blood of every living samurai to get revenge on the samurai that did them wrong. Their son/husband was off at war just like his counterpart in Onibaba, but in Kuroneko he returns home to find his home burned to the ground and his loved ones gone.

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Onibaba (1964)

Onibaba [鬼婆] (1964)

Starring Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Sato, Jukichi Uno, Taiji Tonoyama, Sensho Matsumoto, Kentaro Kaji

Directed by Kaneto Shindo

Expectations: High, been wanting to see this one for years.


Onibaba is a stunning, visual feast for cinema fans that happen to enjoy both classic Japanese films and horror. It is more arthouse drama than true horror in today’s sense of the genre, but make no mistake, Onibaba is horrific and unflinching in its story. It’s a great, slow-moving film and if you have any interest in watching it, please do so before reading the review. I’d prefer to talk freely about this one, as I feel that a lot of what’s interesting is definitely in spoiler territory, so consider yourself warned.

Onibaba is a very small film, concerning itself with only three major characters. An older woman and her daughter-in-law (both unnamed in the film) live in a small hut in a field of tall grass. And by tall I mean taller than a man, cornfield style. These women do what they can to survive, resorting to murdering exhausted samurai who have somehow gotten away from the war that rages nearby. They drop the bodies of their victims into a huge hole and sell their armor and clothes to a shady arms dealer in another hut close by. The third main character is Hachi, a neighbor that went to war with the son of the older woman (who was also the husband of the younger woman). After informing them of their loved one’s death, he quickly starts trying to seduce the young woman, thus creating a tension between the three that can only lead to bad places.

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Announcing the 2nd Annual Horrific October!

Yep, it’s that time again. Time for me to completely lose all control and give in to my wild desires of only watching horror films. Last year was a blast, and even though I’m more pressed for time these days, I’m gonna do my best to make this year just as awesome. I’m dividing my efforts into three main categories this year, which are:

Classic Japanese Horror

Featuring:

The Ghost of Yotsuya [Tôkaidô Yotsuya Kaidan] (1959)
dir. Nobuo Nakagawa

Jigoku [The Sinners of Hell] (1960)
dir. Nobuo Nakagawa

Onibaba (1964)
dir. Kaneto Shindō

Kuroneko [Yabu no naka no kuroneko] (1968)
dir. Kaneto Shindō

Full Moon Films

Featuring:

Vampire Journals (1997)
dir. Ted Nicolaou

Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998)
dir. Ted Nicolaou

Parasite (1982)
dir. Charles Band

Castle Freak (1995)
dir. Stuart Gordon

Hammer Horror

Featuring:

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
dir. Terence Fisher

Dracula [Horror of Dracula] (1958)
dir. Terence Fisher

The Mummy (1959)
dir. Terence Fisher

The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
dir. Terence Fisher

So there you have it! I’m pumped to finally be checking out these flicks, as just about every one has been on my ongoing “To Watch” list for several years. I’ve always heard about the Gothic beauty of Hammer Horror but now I will finally see what all the fuss is about for myself. Same goes for the work of Nakagawa and Shindō. Cannot wait. And depending on time I might sneak in a few more random movies, but I’m not promising anything.

The extravaganza kicks off October 4th with Vampire Journals!

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