Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kwaidan (1964)

Director: Masaki Kobayashi. Cast: Rentarô Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Takashi Shimura. 183 min. Unrated. Japan. Fantasy/Horror.

Have you ever heard of a "beautiful" horror movie? Or one that tells its story just by lighting, changing colors, or background music? Look no further. Kobayashi narrates four horror stories from ancient Japanese folklore, but this is more an experiment in audiovisual beauty, and how one can manipulate the human psyche merely by manipulating the atmosphere. The first episode is obviously inspired by Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), but the last episode must have been the inspiration for The Ring (2002)'s famous scene (the girl crawling out the TV). The third episode's dreamy river battle sequence is a blast.

PS: Thank you, Hooman, for the recommendation.

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