Japanese Giant Eyeballs

Kwaidan

A 1964 Japanese-made anthology of four “horror” stories involving ghosts, Kwaidan doesn’t have Samaurias in hockey masks spilling teenage guts all over the floor or rotted spirits with crooked teeth looking to suck on your brains. Instead, it’s more artsy, going for color, atmospheric settings, slow suspense build-up and mixed results pay-off. These stories came from a Greek dude but were adapted to the Japanese culture. I don’t know why I know that.

Kwaidan

Of the stories – “The Black Hair,” “The Woman of the Snow” and “In a Cup of Tea,” it’s the charmingly titled, “Hoichi the Earless” that’s the most fun with its cool graveyard scenes. It’s a story about a blind musician, or “biwa hoshi” whose specialty is singing “The Tale of the Heike,” about the Battle of Dan-no-ura, a war fought between Emperor Antoku and Minamoto no Yoritomo during the last phase of the Genpei War. (OK, I totally copied that off Wikipedia™ – but just for fact-checking, as I for real knew all that stuff in the first place. I just didn’t know how to spell everything.) I also liked the giant eye in “The Woman of the Snow.” Giant eyes are kinda neat.

Kwaidan

These are all metaphoric tales of loss, grief, remorse, blah, blah, blah. Brain-eating can be remorseful, too, but you just have to let it be so. While it’s been described as one of the most meticulously crafted supernatural films ever made, Kwaidan is like reading a poetry book when what you really want is a TV Guide™. Still, the snow woman is kinda hot.

Kwaidan

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