Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Cat Mansion (1958) aka Borei kaibyo yashiki aka The Mansion of the Ghost Cat

3.5 / 5 Feb '10
Tagline: N/A
Directed by: Nobuo Nakagawa
Written by: Jiro Fujishima, Yoshihiro Ishikawa
Actors include: Toshio Hosokawa, Midori Chikuma, Yuriko Ejima
Genre: Drama, Horror
Length: 69 minutes
Banned: Nope

This is a rather unusual film in many ways, it's half in black & white and half in color (oddly it's the flashback part that's in color?). It starts out with a Doctor and his wife who've moved out in the country for peace and quiet to this eerie home. People start seeing this elderly ghost woman who keeps trying to strangle the ailing wife. Then we flashback to the history of the house and the curse, we meet the evil Lord Shogen who has tons of power and is very violent. He plays a game called Go (which appears like pebble checkers perhaps) and in a violent disagreement he kills his opponent. His ghost comes back to warn his wife that Lord Shogen was to blame for his demise but it doesn't stop there. Shogen abuses the wife and drives her to insanity and death, but not before she makes her cat & it's generations take revenge on family members of Lord Shogen. The black and white segments are actually creepy and very atmospheric, the color segments are more lively but unfortunately the "cat" effects are pretty hilariously cheesy. Considering this was 1958 it's very advanced and even violent picture, it's quite lovely to look at. It's just very short, rather strange and somewhat muddled I suppose, still worth a viewing, especially for fans of early Asian cinema. I'm shocked this seems like a very unknown flick, it's rather amusing and absurd in a good way.

Availability:  On DVD however I'm not sure which region or where to get it

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