Kwaidan (1964)

Halloween Reviews 2020

Director: Masaki Kobayashi

Writer: Yoko Mizuki, from the novel by Lafcadio Hearn

Stars: Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Rentaro Mikuni, Kenjiro Ishiyama, Ranko Akagi, Fumie Kitahara

Director Masaki Kobayashi created an impressive quartet of short films based on the ghost stories of Lafcadio Hearn. 

Perhaps it is misleading to call this a horror film, because that may cause many people to expect a more aggressively upsetting experience than Kobayashi intends. 

These are quiet stories about people who encounter the spirit world. 

The intent is to maintain a consistently eerie mood rather than to make the viewer jump out of his seat, and it succeeds at this very well. 

Kobayashi does not try to conceal the fact that it was filmed entirely on sound stages. 

Rather, he exploits that fact to produce many astonishing, beautiful images. 

My only problem with the film is that the archetypal nature of the stories makes it easy to guess their resolutions, so I sometimes became a little impatient with the deliberate pacing.


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