Complete list of the films Guillermo del Toro has recommended on twitter. Click the 'Read notes' button to see his…
Bizarre, unearthly, terrifying— a nation's legend, an author's imagination, a director's creation manifest in the superlative— Kwaidan
This is the film adaptation of four stories from the book "Kwaidan: Stories and studies of strange things" by Lafcadio Hearn and is actually a collection of Japanese ghost stories, taken from various sources, some even stemming from China.
As a collection of spooky, transfixing stories fabricated through heightened artificiality and blooming colors, Kwaidan slams the viewer into a mesmerizing trance. It's a beautiful mix of apparitions, surreal visions, and stories birthed from the past, and while the stories vary in quality (1st two - stunning, 2nd two - merely good), by the film's startling, dissonant conclusion, it doesn't really matter. This is a masterful movie.
Takes the experiences of watching a play, reading a book of folk tales, viewing a painting, listening to avant garde music, and having a dream and turns them into a movie. A stylized theatrical back drop, a lighting change, a slightly off-kilter motion, a slightly off-sync cue in Toru Takemitsu's otherworldly soundtrack and suddenly you're transported into the dream. Timeless, but maybe 1960s Japan would have special attraction to moral lessons like: "next time stay at home" or "keep your promises, for the sake of the children, because the past will come back to haunt you" or "remember the past, tell its story well, but don't blindly adhere to it" or "don't be a security obsessed jerk who drinks a soul in my unfinished story or whatever the lesson was in that last one."
I love anthologies. Maybe it's my growing attention issues, but bite-sized nuggets of stories, especially ones linked by theme or style are a more-than-welcome alternative to the immersion I can feel with films that use long running times to tell a single, epic story. Kwaidan obviously fits the bill, and - despite the rating (discussed later) - was beautiful and just the right amount of scary. For the sake of the rating, here's how I liked each separate story:
The Black Hair - 7/10
Kobayashi gets things started with the most overtly-terrifying tale. It's a sad love story with a gruesome twist, and is interesting in and of itself as a tragic tale of regret.…
A.V. Club review. Still can't believe "The Woman of the Snow" got cut for the U.S. release, as it's far and away the best of the four, in terms of both visual splendor and overall creepiness.
This is a sumptuous visual feast that through delirious colours, sets and imagery offers up four Japanese tales of the supernatural that all cast a spell and get under your skin over the nearly 3 hour running time. A must-see for fans of Horror and Japanese cinema from the Director of Harakiri and The Human Condition.
Kwaidan aesthetically strays about as far from realism as one can go, yet is all the better for it. In dealing with the unknown of the spirit world, Kobayashi cinematically just goes for it here, demonstrating his Japanese ghost story chops with some wonderful artistry (including expressionist backdrops) and unforgettably haunting supernatural imagery (the woman of the snow, wow!). There were certain shots in this film that even made me wonder what a Kobayashi Alien film would have looked like, its partial influence over some subsequent horror classics can most certainly be felt. Kobayashi's cinematic approach to these stories is what is most interesting, and his involvement in traditional tropes such as scary Japanese women with long black hair is…
The true horror on this Kobayashi terror epic it doesn't lie purely and simply in its graphic and visually bright and truly dark and disturbing art desing, but yet in the moral and ethical destruction of its characters in their small stories. Even if not all work as they should, the masterfull direction of Kobayashi makes each one stick in our minds and hunt us for days.
A gorgeous collection of ghost stories. The art direction of this film is going to linger on my aesthetic palate for a while.
Really fun, great scenarios, all four stories are very flavourful of Japan. A horror "Dreams"(1990) is the best way to put it.
Cool ghost stories with an interesting visual style and accompanied by semi-diegetic music. A few shots of the third story seemed out of focus to me, but it could be that my eyes were getting tired.
Thought I'd throw up a couple pictures since I can't review for shit.
My main observation when watching Kwaidan was the following: After having seen, and thoroughly enjoyed Harakiri, I was absolutely stunned when it came to the aesthetic aspects, so much so that I consider Harakiri one of the most beautiful films of all time. I was a little skeptical going into this film though, because I saw that the two films do not have the same cinematographer. To my surprise, the aesthetic qualities of both films are easily comparable. While obviously both cinematographers have the necessary skill to pull this off, this leads me to believe that it's more of a vision from the mind of the captain of the ship, Masaki Kobayashi.
Because this still looks absolutely gorgeous. There are…
A triumph of art-direction, if nothing else; Kobayashi and crew work a tactic familiar to me from Shaw Brothers movies, of creating natural environments on stage sets in a way that's both 'realistic' and abstract. heightened through compositional ploys and colored gels into something stranger than what it represents.
But stranger here, more abstract, than anything the Shaws ever tried to do. The sky's a home for staring eyes...
Maybe a newborn puppy would find this borderline spooky.
This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
Movies that are slightly off.