Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Deep Cuts #5: Kwaidan

(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

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Japanese, 1964, d. Masaki Kobayashi

One of my favorite films of all time, and possibly my absolute favorite ever. Four separate ghost stories unfold in a way that's hauntingly beautiful, slow-paced, quiet, and underhandedly terrifying.

As far as I can tell, the film was entirely shot on a soundstage, even though much of the action takes place outdoors, and Kobayashi exploits this staged quality to give the film a mannered, presentational atmosphere. I've read that shooting averaged about three takes per day on set. The visual quality has often struck me as a bizarre inversion of "The Wizard of Oz" in a way.

The soundscape is heavy on the silence, and Toru Takemitsu's haunting score often blurs the line between whether or not the music is "in the scene" or a psychological/ artistic occurence. Highly recommended.

imdb listing

For those of you in the Minneapolis/ St Paul, keep in mind that Green T. Productions will present "Kaidan: Stories and Studies of the Strange" as part of the 2015 Twin Cities Horror Festival. It's my understanding that some of the material therein is derived from this film, or at least shares source material.

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