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.