8.0/10
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Onibaba (1964)

Unrated | | Horror | 4 February 1965 (USA)
Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Kichi's Mother
...
Kichi's Wife
Kei Satô ...
Hachi
Jûkichi Uno ...
Samurai General
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Ushi
Someshô Matsumoto ...
Runaway Warrior A
Kentarô Kaji ...
Runaway Warrior B
Hosui Araya ...
Ushi's Follower
Fudeko Tanaka ...
Old Woman
Michinori Yoshida ...
Samurai with Blood
Hiroyoshi Yamaguchi ...
Horse Riding Samurai A
Hiroshi Tanaka ...
Horse Riding Samurai B
Kanzô Uni ...
Horse Riding Samurai C
Nobuko Shimakage ...
Child
Edit

Storyline

In the Fourteenth Century, during a civil war in Japan, a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law survive in a hut in a field of reed killing warriors and soldiers to trade their possessions for food. When their neighbor Hachi defects from the war and returns home, they learn that their son and husband Kichi died while stealing supplies from farmers. Soon Hachi seduces the young widow and she sneaks out of her hut every night to have sex with him. When the older woman finds the affair of her daughter-in-law, she pleads with Hachi to leave the young woman with her since she would not be able to kill the warriors without her help. However, Hachi ignores her request and continues to meet the young woman. When a samurai wearing a demon mask stumbles upon the older woman at her hut asking her to guide him out of the field, she lures him and he falls in the pit where she drops the bodies of her victims. She climbs down the hole to take his possessions and his mask, and she finds he is a ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most daring film import ever...from Japan!

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

4 February 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Devil Woman  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The demon mask used in the movie inspired William Friedkin to use a similar design for the makeup in subliminal shots of a white-faced demon in The Exorcist (1973). See more »

Quotes

Woman: I'm not a demon! I'm a human being!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Exorcist (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Investigation Into Jealousy
9 December 2004 | by (Seoul, Republic of Korea) – See all my reviews

Onibaba is a very well done film, purposefully using black and white cinema to its' advantage in this stunning portrayal of murder, jealousy, and uncontrollable human instinct in a dark period of Japan's history.

A film that aims at portraying the baser side of human nature and investigating human psychology, it is chalk-full of symbolic scenes and sequences. From start to finish it draws you in with the odd imagery and scenery of Japan's rural areas, and even though in this film though there are very few characters and elements that are to it, both visually and literally, through its' minimalism it effectively tells its' story.

This film is both very artistic & symbolic as well as literal and upfront, juxtaposing very graphic, real images of the face of humanity that demand the viewer to infer much throughout the whole of the film. When going into this film, I would say that it is very important for the viewer to think of the film as being very symbolic for the instincts and base nature of mankind, and perhaps even a 'state of nature' portrayal of humanity. If you watch this film with that in mind, it will help with the inferences that one must make to get the most out of this film.

As it stands by itself, aside from the deeper meaning, it is an intriguing story that is a veritable 'slice of life' film in the darker sense, viewing the way that people had to live during a period of war and hard times in feudal Japan. It deals with the hardships that these people face, and their method of survival, in addition to a very human story of jealousy and portrayal with a very interesting culminating point that I did not expect at all. The climax of the film is very much worth the build-up, though at times it seemed to be rather slow.

Overall, a very important piece of film when it comes to the symbolism and techniques employed. Through its' minimalism and black-and-white cinematography we are really treated to a great film that is, of its' own right, an influential and great movie. The cinematography is exceptionally good, especially the use of the reeds and the light at night.

I would recommend this film to anybody with a serious interest in film, as well as anybody who likes a good film that investigates the darker side of human nature.


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