Poe meets Oedipus Rex, in glorious Nippon
In Kaneto Shindô's 1968 baroque Japanese period piece, samurai run wild as ignoble marauders. And at the outset here, they gang-rape and murder a woman and her daughter-in-law in a virtuoso scene of Tarantino-style mayhem.
These women come back as avenging ghouls, luring leering samurai home and biting into their throats. Meanwhile, the mother's only son, the husband of the daughter-in-law, returns from faraway wars, himself a samurai.
How will he deal with his mess of ghostly relatives, torn as he is between family loyalties and the warrior code? With an invidious black cat meowing about, Shindô's movie, elegantly shot in widescreen black-and-white, melds Edgar Allan Poe and Oedipus Rex, all in sight of the legendary Rashômon Gate.
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