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Halloween Horror Countdown Pt. 1 October 2, 2008

Posted by vorpalkeith in Movie Review.
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BLACK CAT

This film was a samurai-era ghost story (so it’s right in my wheelhouse from the get-go).  It opens with a woman and her daughter-in-law in their home in a bamboo grove.  A group of starving samurai come upon them, rape them, and murder them.  The whole time a strange black cat is watching the goings on in a moment that is reminescent of The Crow.

Some time later the women have returned as vengeful ghosts – although its unclear if its the cat having taken the form of the women, or if the women have joined with the spirit of the cat; maybe it would be more clear in the original Japanese.  They have sworn an oath to a god of evil to kill all samurai and drink their blood, which they are doing every night with gusto.

The head of the samurai in Kyoto tasks a newly blooded hero from the campaigns in the north to kill the monsters.  The ironic twist is this returning hero is actually the son and husband respectively of the two women, who had been conscripted several years earlier as a farmer, but is now a fully titled samurai.

I really like the look of this film.  It was shot long ago, but the use of wirework for the ghosts is fantastic.  Additionally, the shot compositions are gorgeous.  The really amazing thing though was the use of sets and lights – they do it in an almost theatrical fashion so that sets are stacked together like nesting dolls.  They go from the inside of a well-appointed home to a bamboo forest to a burnt out hut without a single camera cut, just a shift in the scene’s lighting.  It’s really well done.

I give Black Cat 3.5 spooky pumpkins out of 5.

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