More Japanese Gothic: Kuroneko and The Ghost Story of Yotsuya at the BFI Southbank

Winter is a time for ghost stories and the BFI has its Gothic season underway across various venues in the UK. The real meat is down in London where there are lots of talks and films that three Japanese film screened at the BFI Southbank over December. A fortnight ago I posted about Ringu and then blogger HS reported that there were screenings for the 1959 version of The Ghost Story of Yotsuya and Kaneto Shindo’s classic Kuroneko. Here’s the info on the films. Just hit the titles to get to the official pages and from there you can purchase tickets.

Kuroneko                                Kuroneko Film Poster

Japanese: 藪 の 中 の 黒猫

Romaji: Yabu no Naka no Kuroneko

Running Time: 99 mins.

Release Date: February 24th, 1968

Director: Kaneto Shindo

Writer: Kaneto Shindo (Screenplay),

Starring: Kiwako Taichi, Nobuko Otowa, Kichiemon Nakamura

This is Kaneto Shindo’s follow-up (in horror terms) to Onibaba and is drawn on from a classic folktale (kaibyo – Ghost Cat). I have seen this and planned to review it for Halloween but decided to go with Penance instead to cap my Kiyoshi Kurosawa season. Filmed in black and white this film is creepy but very, very beautiful with its atmospheric visuals, great lighting and creative sets.

A mother (Otowa) and her daughter-in-law (Taichi) live in a remote house next to a bamboo forest which makes them easy targets for a band of samurai who rape and murder them. Their spirits return in the form of vampiric black cats who lure samurai into a bamboo grove and murder them! 

The film will be screened on December 17th, 2013 at 6:10 PM and December 22nd, 2013 at 8:40 PM. Tickets are on sale already and seats for the Tuesday event are being snapped up!

The Ghost Story of Yotsuya                                  Ghost of Yotsuya DVD Case

Japanese: 東海道四谷怪談

Romaji: Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan

Running Time: 76 mins.

Release Date: July 1st, 1959

Director: Nobuo Nakagawa

Writer: Masayoshi Onuki, Yoshihiro Ishikawa (Screenplay), Nanboku Tsuruya (Original Novel)

Starring: Shigeru Amachi, Noriko Kitazawa, Katsuko Wakasugi

The BFI’s page for this seems to display information on Kuroneko but thankfully the film was at the 2013 Terracotta Far East Film Festival which I posted about earlier this year and is where I get the trailer, description and story from! No poster, just a DVD case.


Arguably the most famous Japanese ghost story of all time, Yotsuya Kaidan has been remade multiple times (30 times!!!) with the most recent example being Kaidan directed by Hideo Nakata. This one is the 1959 version directed by Nobuo Nakagawa, the man who would later go onto to film Jigoku. It is based on a Kabuki play written way back in 1825 and follows the misfortunes of two families locked in a deadly curse.

The film will be screened on December 16th, 2013 at 8:40 PM and December 22nd, 2013 at 6:20 PM. Tickets are on sale already and seats for the Monday event are running out!

I have watched most of the films/TV shows in the season (thanks to a mother who loves the supernatural) but only reviewed The Woman in Black and Nosferatu the Vampyre. I’d really love to watch The Innocents and Night of the Demon at a cinema

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