Nov 09

Naked Bullet (1969) aka Otoko goroshi onna goroshi: hadaka no zyudan

Naked.Bullet.1969
A yakuza flees from his boss with a young waitress and is tricked into returning to the fold. For his efforts, he is tortured and beaten, and she is raped and discarded like trash. Five years later, a similar scenario presents itself only this time, the ex- yakuza has learnt from his mistake. The director employs a subtle, documentary style and switches between color and black and white. The women in this film are gorgeous, and there is a plethora of nudity. Structured much more conventionally than many Wakamatsu pictures, and feeling more like noir than pink. It’s a humble little gem from a truly maverick director.
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Oct 30

The Hundred Monsters (1968) aka Yôkai hyaku monogatari

100_Monsters
This is the first of three “Yokai” films made in the 1960s by Daiei, which also gave the world Gamera and Giant Majin. Like the later, this film has a period setting that suggests a samurai film and emphasizes a human drama in which, ultimately, only the intervention of a supernatural monster (in this case, “yokai,” or spirits) can resolve the conflict satisfactorily. Continue reading

Oct 28

The Bride from Hades (1968) aka Botan-dôrô

talespeonylanternKaidan Botan Doro (Tales of the Peony Lantern) is based on the kabuki version of one of the most famous ghost stories in Japan. Shinzaburo flees an unwanted marriage with his brother’s widow and lives quietly as a teacher removed from his family. On the night of the summer Obon festival, he meets a beautiful courtesan named Otsuyu and her attendant. When He begins to suspect the women are ghosts and are draining his life away Shinzaburo becomes frightened and seeks help from the temple priest.
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Oct 19

Kwaidan (1964) aka Kaidan

kwaidanThis film contains four distinct, separate stories. “Black Hair”: A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife, only to discover something eerie about her. “The Woman in the Snow”: Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her.A decade later he forgets his promise. “Hoichi the Earless”: Hoichi is a blind musician, living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they’ve forgotten something. “In a Cup of Tea”: a writer tells the story of a man who keep seeing a mysterious face reflected in his cup of tea.
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