Japanese Horror Classics
Bolstered by such films as Ju-on and Ringu (and their American remakes, respectively, The Grudge and The Ring), Japanese horror cinema (a.k.a. J-Horror), replete with malevolent spirits and unnerving distortions of reality, found popularity with Western audiences in the early 2000s. Yet the phantasmic frights of contemporary times actually hearken back to Japanese cinema's long history with the supernatural. For example, spectral fears were bracingly depicted by director Kaneto Shindo in two of Japan's most enduring ghost stories, Onibaba (1964) and Kuroneko (1968). In the former, a 14th-century mother and daughter-in-law, who survive by robbing and murdering unwary travelers, risk a gruesome retribution from the spirit world. By contrast, the mother and daughter-in-law haunting Kuroneko are vengeful wraiths doling out horrific fates as retribution for their stolen lives. The atmosphere so mesmerizingly achieved by both films is matched by Kwaidan (1964), Masaki Koayashi's lavishly filmed anthology of ghost stories drawn from traditional Japanese folk tales. A fourth film, the cult-celebrated Hausu (1977) rounds out the series in singular style, presenting an utterly unhinged ghost story that defies all convention, like Dario Argento by way of Looney Tunes. Hypnotic to this day, these cinematic apparitions remain too spirited for the grave. No 9 p.m. show Monday, October 15-16. (Pictured: Hausu)
Mondays, Tuesdays, 7 & 9 p.m.; Wednesdays, 7 & 9 p.m. Starts: Oct. 8. Continues through Oct. 31, 2012
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