The ghost of a samurai's wife takes revenge on her husband.
The ghost of a samurai's wife takes revenge on her husband.
Ghost Story of Yotsuya, Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan, Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan
A series of lush, cramped, graphic tableaux dominating the sick, silly humans whose lives play out inside them, inescapable. Shots are often bisected by doorways or subdivided into smaller frames, the dead not merely crossing into our world but coexisting with it, and the living characters are further and further isolated and deranged by their corruption.
I was definitely hooked by the premise and the poster, but I did not expect it to be this awesome. It's a tale of two halves, with 30 minutes of buildup doing a ton of work to make you completely despise lemon culminating in 45 minutes straight of relentlessly insane surreal horror. The buildup was absolutely necessary in making the climax so immensely satisfying within the utter chaos that was unfolding on screen. I also did not know that the movie would be in color, but the color added so much to the surrealism. The movie is not afraid to get absurd and trippy; I appreciate the lack of shame.
Out of the 100+ people I follow on Letterboxd, a…
Disreputable ronin Iemon Tamiya exudes a kind of cowardice rarely seen in Jidaigeki of the day. Nobuo Nakagawa’s bleak depiction of spiritual vengeance The Ghost of Yotsuya is a tale of immorality, showing the effects of one man’s selfishness coming back to haunt him. Moody and macabre, this film subverts the idea of the honorable samurai entirely; equating its main characters to snakes in the grass of a vermilion riverbank. Iemon lies, deceives and murders. His crimes can only be payed for in blood, with the ghosts of his victims probing his mind and haunting him right into the sharpened swords of their avengers. Extremely well-lit with some fantastic makeup effects, it feels a tad too slow at points (given the brisk runtime, this indicates pacing issues to me) and I think some of the swordplay could’ve been executed a bit better, but when this thing is on, it’s a horrifically dark, chill-inducing piece of Japanese horror cinema. Recommended.
I already knew that I would like this movie before watching it because Takashi Miike's retelling Over Your Dead Body is one of my favourite horror movies but I didn't expect to love it that much, not least because I couldn't really warm up to the only other Nakagawa movie I had seen before. But then again I think Yotsuya Kaidan is one of those stories that are so good that it's almost impossible to fuck it up completely and I can't wait to see some of the other adaptations even though they probably won't come close to this one.
The Ghost of Yotsuya tells the story of the samurai Iemon who wants to marry…
Halloween 2019 — 25/31
I love me some vengeful ghosts taking down cocky samurais. The Ghost of Yotsuya is a perfect example of the genre. It is gorgeous, using its kabuki roots to craft a theatrical, highly stylised experience. It uses brilliant camera tricks to pull off ghostly hallucinations. The screen is splattered with colour in its sumptuous locations and intricate sets. The horror is spooky. Corpses and ghosts appear, soaking the screen in red. Buckets of water turn into buckets of snakes. The violence is shockingly brutal considering the film's vintage. Poison turns a woman's face "hideous" before she dies, and we suddenly move into skin-crawling body horror territory. If you dig this kind of thing as much as I do, at a swift 70ish minutes, this is a near perfect example of ghostly gooey period piece Japanese horror.
Didn’t think Nakagawa could make something bleaker than JIGOKU but here we are, and to boot it’s all coated in this lush color palette that’d make even Bava's eyes melt. All-consuming guilt manifested as immortal snakes and your betrayed wife's ghost nailed to a shutter trying to kill you. Horrifying.
Sumptuous Japanese samurai-ghost-revenge story that splatters the screen with lavish gore. The effects are fantastic, and they're withheld for a while to draw out a greater impact when they're unveiled in full. What drew my eye most was the framing. There are large swathes of black that dominate and cramp the visual for a more claustrophobic tale that's quite effective.
11/52 Horrorx52 2021: 1950's
Since I used to watch horror films when I was a child, there’d been something puzzling me ever since. It was a simple question, “Why do you feel scared when you see a ghost?” Theoretically, it’s complicated. When I was small I didn’t understand logic, but I found it strange. In The Ghost of Yotsuya, when the ghost appears, Iemon dies. Then he becomes a ghost and the two become buddies. The story differs between this and the other versions, but at the end, Oiwa and Iemon go up to heaven together. It’s a happy ending yet he’d been so frightened of her! But of course, once they die, they’re dead and happy together, and there’s no reason to be…
For a brief content of the story check my previous review. Because it is based on the same short story.
This film stands out especially visually. The colour palettes are astonishing, there is an eye for a coherence of colours in every detail of the environment as well as of the clothing and attributes. Soft pastel shades are often chosen, and these look tremendous on screen. The choice of colour combinations often made me think of Rohmer, such as the combinations of red and green that are often used. Furthermore, there is an enormous variety of unconventional camera angles, which try to make as much use as possible of the surroundings to create beautiful images: think of bars, plants, cloths,…
The Ghost of Yotsuya might be a crueler and grislier watch than Matsumoto’s Demons, which is a statement I didn’t think I’d write for a while. The film is a festering jidaigeki gutter well before the vengeful specter arrives: almost an entire hour of unrelenting malice, anguish, schemes, monstrous scumbags, murder, blackmail, backstabbing, poison, and body horror. Almost as much a noir film as it is a samurai film, and then begins the onslaught of punishment from beyond. The J-horror legacy is undeniable and the kabuki gothic eeriness has lost none of its power.
Ghost of Yotsuya circles around to satisfying comeuppance though; Demons never relents in its plummet through blackhearted depths.
The film is a hypnotic revenge tale served in black and white visuals. despite the lack of color, it’s potent in powerful imagery and beauty. Having done over 100 films, this is one of only a handful of horrors that Nakagawa’s dabbled in. The story centers on a sin so heinous, it turns graves to avenge it. Went into this solely on the cool LB poster and it ended up being a new favorite. I’m so surprised to see how few people have seen this, it’s a must see for Spooktober!
Good for her cinema!
The thing that I never understand in these movies is the scenario in which the killer enlists the help of another person in getting rid of someone who knows too much. Wouldn't it make you, dear reader, just the tiniest bit suspicious that if you help him or her in this evil deed, that you are putting yourself in the exact same position as the person you are helping to kill?
(oh yeah, and this movie looks amazing and has great atmosphere. it slow burns from a pitch black noir story to a crazy Japanese ghost jam in its final third).