KWAIDAN is a 1964’s Japanese Horror Movie. This is truly the product that came out from the belly of those creepy mind of Japanese people. KWAIDAN itself translated as GHOST STORIES in English. This over 160 minutes flick is presenting four Supernatural tale.
- Black Hair : Its a classic tragic story about man and his dream. When a samurai decides to leaves his beautiful, beloved but poor wife and marrying rich woman in other town, he finally realize something that even until now is still a very debatable topic in every human minds. That money can’t buy happiness and love. So, after years of ‘adventures’, he’s returning to the first wife and have a little surprise waiting for him.
- The woman in snow : The classic representation of Japanese version of the woman in white. When a clueless handsome good looking butt woodcutter stranded in a mid of blizzard encounters the Yuki Onna(Vampires snow woman), the ghost is spares his life as long as he’s not mentioning the encounters.
- A cup of tea : Some random ronin is drinks water in a cup of tea. he sees the soul of a former samurai, and guess what. that soul is haunting him afterwards.
- Hoichi the Earless : Hoichi is a blind monk who loves playing biwa. And he’s good in it too. He’s specialty is singing the The Tale of the Heike. what he don’t realize is, the ghost from those war is attracted to him because of this.
KWAIDAN is a horror movie, but trust me, KWAIDAN its not as gory, blatant, and sensational like all other usual horror movies. KWAIDAN really takes its time to built a very quiet suspense to haunt its viewer, even after the movie is over. The unusual visualization of these movie is the proof of that. Even though its really very clear a studio-work, the director of these movie really changing and make the cinematography as beautiful as a CLASS A expressionist painting. From the beautiful windy vivid depiction of a snowy forest with Yuki Onna’s eyes as the background, to the misty and mysterious misty cloudy of heroes cemetery, KWAIDAN really should put the word eerie and dreamlike in its tag line. The make up and costume is as disturbing and unsurprisingly as historically authentic too. The girl who played the rich wife and Yuki Onna is really making an eerie impact. Combined it with the very minimalist(and sometimes, creepy) take on soundtrack and music. All of these elements effectively put the viewer’s mood in the same shoes and eras of all these stories. I don’t remember any movie do this to me just from the style itself.
Its really hard to find this movie these day. I had it on criterion classic region 1 DVD. But if you do find it, buy it. The extremely predictable stories probably is what makes KWAIDAN a one step away from being called a masterpiece. But if you need a very original, extravagant, visually enchanted and at the same time weirdly, beautiful movie, KWAIDAN is the one for you.