Kuroneko (1968)

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Director: Kaneto Shindo
Cast: Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otawa, Kiwako Taichi


A mother and daughter are raped and immolated by a troop of marauding samurai; their spirits become catlike avenging ghosts who lure samurai to the ruins of their farmhouse and tear out their throats. The local warlord sends out the call for a hero equal to eradicating the monster that ravages the area, and the women's son and husband returns from the wars and responds to the challenge, little suspecting the source of the scourge.

The Review

Like The Naked Island, this classic ghost story thrives on repetition in its early stages, and ends with the circle closing around the corpse of the son in the frozen ruins of the house, just as they were a blazing furnace in the beginning. Dialogue-light, this is chilling, sensual storytelling with a rare female take on the selfish bellicosity of these macho samurai.