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Ghost Stories (1964)
"Kaidan" (original title)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 7,978 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 68 critic

This film contains four distinct, separate stories. "Black Hair": A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Ghost Stories (1964)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michiyo Aratama ...
First wife (segment "Kurokami")
Misako Watanabe ...
Second Wife (segment "Kurokami")
Rentarô Mikuni ...
Husband (segment "Kurokami")
Kenjirô Ishiyama ...
Father (segment "Kurokami")
Ranko Akagi ...
Mother (segment "Kurokami")
Fumie Kitahara ...
(segment "Kurokami")
Kappei Matsumoto ...
(segment "Kurokami")
Yoshiko Ieda ...
(segment "Kurokami")
Otome Tsukimiya ...
(segment "Kurokami")
Kenzô Tanaka ...
(segment "Kurokami")
Kiyoshi Nakano ...
(segment "Kurokami")
...
Mi nokichi (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Keiko Kishi ...
Yûko Mochizuki ...
Minokichi's mother (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Kin Sugai ...
Village woman (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Edit

Storyline

This film contains four distinct, separate stories. "Black Hair": A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife, only to discover something eerie about her. "The Woman in the Snow": Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her. A decade later he forgets his promise. "Hoichi the Earless": Hoichi is a blind musician, living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they've forgotten something. "In a Cup of Tea": a writer tells the story of a man who keep seeing a mysterious face reflected in his cup of tea. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tea | snow | samurai | promise | spirit | See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 November 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Stories  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

JPY 350,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although most of the vignettes acknowledge a passage of time, in some cases several years, the months of principle action in the film are, in order, September, December, March, and February (or New Year's Day of the Fourth Tenwa). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dreams (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Classical Japanese tragedy, Expressionist visual style
12 December 2000 | by (Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

There's a good bit of discussion of this film as "horror"; may I suggest that it's horrific in the sense of the ancient Greek tragedies. There's no attempt to coerce your Hollywood-abused adrenals into delivering just one more squirt by means of some in-your-face special effect. In fact, for each of these slowly developed stories, once you've understood the premise, the story will unfold pretty much as you've guessed it must, inexorably, relentlessly. The ghosts aren't there to "spook" us, they're to show us our common human spiritual and emotional failings. The horror of a ghost wife, for instance, isn't that her chains drag noisily across the the hardwood parquet floor, but that we've created her by our insensitivity, our misplaced values, or our betrayals.

The visual style is stupendous! The action takes place in a disappeared, iconic world of classical medieval Japan, perfect, and admitting no trace of the reality of modern times. Overlaid is a European Expressionist color sensibility, with emotionally charged color displacements of sky and skin, as if Hokusai and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner had been working cooperatively on the sets and lighting.

This is a wonderful movie. Please ignore attempts to fit it into some box, some genre. Rather look at it as a mature work of art, which happens to choose old Japanese ghost stories as its starting point.


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