Jigoku (1960)

Jigoku [地獄] (1960)
AKA Hell & The Sinners of Hell

Starring Shigeru Amachi, Utako Mitsuya, Yôichi Numata, Hiroshi Hayashi, Jun Ôtomo, Akiko Yamashita, Kiyoko Tsuji, Fumiko Miyata, Torahiko Nakamura, Kimie Tokudaiji, Akiko Ono

Directed by Nobuo Nakagawa

Expectations: High.


Jigoku begins similarly to Nobuo Nakagawa’s previous film The Ghost of Yotsuya, slow yet interesting. The difference here is that where Yotsuya gets good quickly and builds itself to a fever pitch, Jigoku continues on about this slow yet interesting path till its final moments, resulting in a disappointing film that, unsurprisingly, is slow yet interesting. It opens with a song, like Yotsuya, and this song’s key lyric relates that some criminals may slip through the net of the law, but no one can evade their own conscience.

Jigoku has a plot, but it’s one that isn’t really integral to the experience. Those seeking a standard narrative flow should look elsewhere, as Jigoku has other priorities in mind. What exactly those priorities are, I haven’t quite figured out, but I don’t mean to say that the film seems unfocused or poorly made. On the contrary, it is very sure of itself and focused, but most of its impact and symbolism was completely lost on me. For instance, there’s a ton of females with umbrellas in the film. There’s a woman towards the end who’s trapped on a burning water wheel. These and many more are all things that I’m sure have deeper meanings, but again, they were lost on me. Perhaps with another viewing they could reveal their meanings, but I doubt I’ll be watching this again anytime soon.

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The Ghost of Yotsuya (1959)

The Ghost of Yotsuya [Tôkaidô Yotsuya Kaidan, 東海道四谷怪談] (1959)
AKA The Ghost Story of Yotsuya

Starring Shigeru Amachi, Noriko Kitazawa, Katsuko Wakasugi, Shuntarô Emi, Ryûzaburô Nakamura, Junko Ikeuchi, Jun Ôtomo, Hiroshi Hayashi, Shinjirô Asano, Arata Shibata, Kikuko Hanaoka

Directed by Nobuo Nakagawa

Expectations: Moderate. Love old Japanese films, not sure what to expect here.


The Ghost of Yotsuya starts off fairly unassumingly. A man pulls back a curtain on a small outdoor stage, revealing an old woman surrounded by three ominous candles, singing a short song about the notion that a woman scorned is one of the greatest horrors. This leads into the film proper where we meet Lemon, a down on his luck samurai hoping to acquire the beautiful Iwa’s hand in marriage. He stops her father while on a nighttime walk and when the father refuses his request, Lemon brutally murders him and his companion, the father of the fiancé to Iwa’s sister Sode. Their servant runs over to Lemon with a plan for how they can avoid any problems the deaths may cause, and with that, the film is off and running.

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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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