Kadokawa Mystery & Horror Tales: Volume 3 (Oi Toshio 2005)


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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.


intro

I've now had the pleasure of (re)viewing the entire "Kadokawa Horror Bideokan" series comprised of three DVDs each containing three tales by completely new and upcoming horror directors. With the exception of one rather weak film in volume one, I have been very impressed with the quality and creativity exhibited here. And by that I mean, for far too long, J-Horror seemed perpetually fossilised in copycat storylines derivative of Ringu and Ju-On.

Thus I am VERY happy to report that all nine tales contained within this series have wholly broken from these tired templates and have finally explored, with narrative and cinematic skill, completely new and effective trajectories.

Links to my reviews of the other volumes:

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three (current review)

As I've pointed out in my reviews of the prior collections, the Japanese versions of this series have subtitles not reflected in the English titles. The current collection's Japanese subtitle is kiken na kaori no onnatachi, which I would translate "Women with the Scent of Danger". This accurately describes the theme of each of this collection's three ghost tales.

The following are brief descriptions of the three stories contained in volume 3.

Ghost House

Genre: Supernatural Ghost Tale

This tale is directed by Oi Toshio.

Following the tragic accidental death of his daughter, a father ventures into her abandoned house to apologize for his stubborn argument with her the night of her death. What he experiences inside this ghost house in the midnight hours reveals much more regarding his daughter's sad fate than he could have possibly imagined.


Whisper Tree

Genre: Supernatural Ghost Tale

This tale is directed by Akaishi Tomoyuki, who also directed the weakest story in this entire nine-tale series (volume one's "cruel kidnapping"). Here, however, Akaishi fully redeems himself in this emotionally-fueled ghost story involving the vengeance of a lover spurned and Shinto superstition.

A successful Tokyo TV producer returns to his home town to investigate an anonymous viewer's tip that he can there find the infamous "Whisperer Tree", the hollow of which is said to echo voices which speak to an individual's darkest realities.

Though he initially reaches the tree in the role of "tv producer", the Whisperer Tree soon opens up the most cruel and painful memories of his youth, confronting him with a ghost from his past.


World of Infinity

Genre: Supernatural Ghost Story

This tale is directed by Yoshida Hideyaki.

A despondent, unemployed businessman runs across a deep-thinking and passionate woman who looks exactly like his flippant and superficial wife. His unwitting attraction to his wife's double soon leads him down paths which he quickly realizes are demonic.


verdict

This entire series (3 DVDs, 9 tales) is an excellent collection of fresh air in the J-Horror genre. Although few if any of these directors have prior directorial accomplishments, most here prove their worth and portent future successes with the right narrative and cast.

I have particularly enjoyed the fresh and creative approach all nine of these stories have taken.

Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available via mainstream US venues.

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
Here's a window into the newest directorial talent being groomed for greater things. Some ghostly spinal surgery and blood spillage. Some off-screen sexual events. (each of which, btw, leads to the GUY's sad demise. Go figure.) This entire series is well worth checking out for its new blood in this cinematic genre.

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