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March 2007 Archives

Kaidan Shin Mimi Bukuro [Tales of Terror]

Genre: Collection of Supernatural Ghost Stories

review in one breath

A collection of eight contemporary folk tales of the ghostly and supernatural produced by seven up-and-coming directors of the new J-Horror genre. Ranging from the comedic to the truly spooky, this collection of entertaining and fun short films is a contemporary version of the Edo Period's "Mimi Bukuro", a ten-volume collection of kaidan tales.



Dark Tales of Japan
[Nihon no Kowai Yoru - Tokubestuhan]

Genre: Five Supernatural Ghost Tales

review in one breath

This is a collection of made-forTV tales from J-Horror TV's 2004 series entitled Nihon no Kowai Yoru (Frightening Night of Japan). Each tale is by a different director including Tsurata Norio and Shimizu Takashi. These range from monster tales to ghost stories.



Curse, Death & Spirit
[Honto ni Atta Kowai Hanashi: Jushiryou]

Genre: Early Short Horror Stories by Nakata Hideo

review in one breath

This is a trilogy of very early (short) horror "films" by Ringu director Nakata Hideo. Though produced on a made-for-television budget, Nakata's central intuition regarding the malicious nature of departed spirits comes through loud and clear.



Kazuo Umezz's Horror Theater Vol 1:
House of Bugs / Diet

[Umezu Kazuo Kyoufu Gekijou: Mushitachi no Ie / Zesshoku]

Genre: Powerful Psychological Horror

review in one breath

This collection contains two horror stories based on manga by Umezu Kazuo. These are both very effective tales of psychological horror in which audiences will find themselves led along truly bewildering paths. This is the first of three volumes and is well worth watching. Director Kurosawa Kiyoshi directs the first tale here.



J Horror Anthology: Legends
[Inagawa Junji no Densetsu no Horaa]

Genre: Six Supernatural Traditional/Urban Legends

review in one breath

This is one of two recently released collections of ghost tales from the prolific productions of Inagawa Junji, Japan's predominant contemporary master storyteller of Japanese ghost tales. Here you experience six supernatural "legends" ranging from the ancient to the modern .


J Horror Anthology: Underworld
[Inagawa Junji no Senritsu no Horaa]

Genre: Six Supernatural Ghost tales

review in one breath

This is one of two recently released collections of ghost tales from the prolific productions of Inagawa Junji, Japan's predominant contemporary master storyteller of Japanese ghost tales. Here you experience six supernatural ghost stories haunting contemporary Tokyo-ites.


Kadokawa Mystery & Horror Tales: Vol. 3
[Kadokawa Horaa Bideokan: kiken na kaori no onnatachi]

Genre: Three Supernatural Ghost Tales

review in one breath

This is the third and final of the Kadokawa Horror Bideokan series. This third collection contains three genuinely creepy and unique Japanese ghost tales which are nothing short of entertaining. In light of (re)viewing all nine tales in this series, I can wholly recommend this for some refreshingly creative and effective ghost tales.



Kadokawa Mystery & Horror Tales: Vol. 2
[Kadokawa Horaa Bideokan: O-daidengaeshi no karakuri emaki]

Genre: Three Tales of Ghosts and Horror

review in one breath

This is the second in a series of three collections released by Kadokawa Films. Each of the three tales contained herein is an impressively effective and well-done supernatural tale, making for a very strong horror collection.



Kadokawa Mystery & Horror Tales: Vol. 1
[Kadokawa Horaa Bideokan: zekkyou yashiki e youkoso hen]

Genre: Three Tales of Horror or Karmic Woe

review in one breath

This is the first in a series of three collections released by Kadokawa Films. Each collection contains three tales by (potentially) up and coming directors versed in either supernatural horror or dismal karmic consequence.



Onibaba

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Genre: Human Survival, Passion and Superstition in the Face Existential Difficulty

review in one breath

In the war-torn chaos of medieval Japan morality and civility give way to the baser necessities of survival. This is a stark and vivid exploration of the heights and depths of the human animal set against the wider tragedies of war and poverty. Truly a remarkable and memorable tale of life, passion and death.



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