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Old 02-01-2005   #1
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Kwaidan

I personally recommend a collection of four short Japanese horror films entitled, "Kwaidan". It's rather old (before 1970 I believe). Anyhow, the four movies in this collection are superb. The sounds are very haunting and the concepts are excellent. There are some Ligotti-esque tendencies in the film (subtle horror, surprise ending, etc...) so check it out if you can.

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Old 02-02-2005   #2
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Kwaidan is an excellent film. But I enjoy (almost) all the Japanese horror films that I know. There seem to be many of them, the Japanese seem to love tales of ghosts and murders and evil samurai. I know two Japanese films with avenging black cats (or ghosts of black cats). Very nice!
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Old 02-02-2005   #3
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I'd like to find some more "old" Japanese horror movies in the vein of Kwaidan...I just really like how it was done

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Old 02-02-2005   #4
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You could look for the following titles if you don't know them yet: I can recommend them all Wink

Kuroneko by Shindo, Kaneto 1968
Onibaba by Shindo, Kaneto 1964
Ugetsu Monogatari by Mizoguchi, Kenji 1953
Black Cat Mansion (Borei kaibyo yashiki) by Nakagawa, Nobuo 1958
Ghost Cat of Otama Pond (Kaibyo otamage-ike) by Ishikawa, Yoshihiro 1960

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Old 02-02-2005   #5
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I've heard of Onibaba, but haven't had a chance to check it out

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Old 02-02-2005   #6
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ONIBABA recently got released in top-notch Quality on a Criterion Disc. Pretty expensive, but maybe you could rent it somewhere...
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Old 02-02-2005   #7
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First of all, yes, I love Kwaidan. I've caught it on IFC several times (I first saw it last Halloween). "The Ice Demon" or "The Snow Demon" (something like that) is my favorite. The imagery is amazing. But of course "The Black Hair" is a great classic-style ghost story. It seems that Japanese directors and cinematographers have been ahead of the rest of the world for decades.

Secondly, unknown, I like the icon. Though my site is primitive and a bit muddled, I wrote up a kind of summation of "The Sham Mirrors" that you might be interested in reading (or not, hehe). I haven't been too keen to promote myself, as the site is totally slapdash (I'm still learning HTML), but here's the addy:

http://murk.5u.com/Music%20Recs.html

And forgive the pop-ups.
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Old 02-02-2005   #8
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"The Black Hair", to me, is a lesson in asthetics. The whole sequence in the last five or so minutes where it's just the husband and the hair is...unspeakable. The sounds, everything just works so perfectly. Did you know in Japanese folklore, white is the color for death? (compared to the common black)

anyhow...killer review of The Sham Mirrors! You nailed it. Anything Garm touches turns to gold. New Ulver this fall, and new Arcturus (with Oyvind from Spiral Architect) on vocals. Cannot wait.

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Old 05-28-2005   #9
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Re: Kwaidan

My favorite history in "kwaidan" is the last one: "In a cup of tea". The brave samurai kills the visiting ghosts again and again, until he gets mad. When I saw the film it brought me back to my childhood. Whenever I visited the Prado Museum I got haunted by a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder "The Triumph of Death".
In a nightmarish landscape a skeleton army goes on rampage, killing and pushing humanity into a kind of ominous box. A few valiant knights try to fight beyond any hope. I was remarkably attracted by the figure on the right down corner, the chevalier drawing out the sword from the scabbard as if he had just woken up to the mayhem around. Now I think I was drawn as a child to that little figure (just a few inches in the Prado original) because beautifully expressed the oncoming mystery of puberty (sword out of the sheath at last) and the desire of fighting death by perpetuating life (and suffering). Kwaidan brave and hopeless samurai comes from the same breed: those who trust their sword to fight the void. Most of us, I guess.

"...what pleasures and improvements do such deny themselves who scorn and avoid all opportunity of intercourse with souls separate and the spirits, glad and sorrowful, which inhabit the unseen world!"
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Old 06-08-2005   #10
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Re: Kwaidan

Kwaidan is quite a find! I will have to check out the other films listed as well.
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