Tuesday, January 28, 2014

430. Onibaba

The Demon
Directed by Kaneto Shindo

There is nothing quite like a really good Japanese horror film (although the first time I watched Ringu I believed it had ruined my life). So not only is this movie a great horror film but it also has the benefit of being historically significant.

A woman and her daughter in law make money by killing samurai soldiers and selling their armor.  Eventually a neighbor joins in on their hilarious antics and begins having sex with the daughter in law, which makes the older woman extremely jealous.  She plans on scaring her daughter in law with a mask, but well, when you use a mask as terrifying as that one, nothing good can come out of it.  Although the film is set in the 1330's, it is clear that the disfigurement in this film is symbolic of the victims of the atomic bombs.

I know it is a lame sentiment, but I really felt as if this film transported me to a different time and place.  It felt way more like a play than a movie (I don't know if there are any Japanese theater fans out there but it is a pretty fascinating medium).

Of course, if you like your horror films to terrify you, I am not really sure this one will get your heart rate up.  Still, an entertaining movie with a lasting message.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The mask inspired the make up of the demon in The Exorcist.

Originally given an X rating.



  1. Yes, another good one which i am delighted to have been introduced to.

  2. I figured you would like this one since we both love old horror films.

  3. So much to love with this one. There is raw, primal power her: death, sex, demons, survival, sweat (lots of sweat), more sweat and samurai.
    One of the best movies of 1964.

    1. Yes! Should save this one to rewatch on Halloween.

  4. That's 600-up for me, including what lies ahead that I've already seen. Halfway point of the sixties reached as well. And what a remarkable way to do it.

    I'm not sure how to categorise this. Horror is just the conclusion it works towards, but what other category is there?

    I follow this list for two reasons. Well, three reasons, actually. The other one is that I am an obsessive completist who really should learn to let these things go and get on and enjoy life. But the first two reasons are:
    1- To mop up all those famous films and stars that always get talked about but I've never seen
    - To be surprised by gems like this which I would never have stumbled across by myself in a million years.