Saturday, September 8, 2012

WTF Japan?!?: Snake Woman's Curse

All hiss, no bite.  Today's film is Snake Woman's Curse, a Japanese import film from Toei Inc.  The film is one of those that they really don't make anymore- a Period Piece Horror Film.  Aside from movies that usually feature throwaway aspects setting a time- see The Box-, these really aren't common in the slightest.  To be fair, the decision to set this in Feudal Japan was probably a money one, as I imagine that they had sets/sound stages that they were already using for Samurai films to begin with.  Even so, it gives the film a unique look and feel when compared to modern horror movies set in cities and such.  The only problem- this movie is 98% build-up.  It's got great atmosphere, interesting characters and a neat look...but that only goes so far.  That said, I'm sure that a lot of you will still like it, especially for the facts that I just mentioned.  To find out how you'll feel, read on...
In a dark, feudal time, an old man dies in debt.  The land owner shows up at the kick them out of their home.  Ow.
He makes up for it by offering to let them work in his house.  Did I say 'let'- I meant 'forces them to.'  My bad.
At least the job is nice.  I mean, it's forced labor, but it's not like they're being beaten and attacked by the owner's son.  Oh wait- both of those things happen.
The movie does a great job of making the rich people look like annoying assholes.  Points to you, movie.
The mother/widow is beaten after protecting a snake.  Apparently, snakes are bad luck.

Mind you, this whole thing happens b/c they kill her *for* protecting the snake, so it's kind of a Catch-22 situation.
Sure enough, the ghost of the Mother and Father begin to haunt the Estate.  They don't do a whole lot yea.
Eventually, the daughter dies and uses her 'vengeful ghost powers' to make the son think that his wife is a snake woman- hence the title.  He kills her and later dies himself.
The father takes it well, especially when he continues to see ghosts.  He has a big freak out, fires everyone and eventually dies when he makes boxes fall on himself.
The ghosts celebrate by walking into Heaven, but only after this neat, old-school effect.  The End.
Damn, you really took your time, movie!  Don't get me wrong- it's not a bad movie.  The problem I had was that it was just a lot of build-up to not a lot of pay-off.  It's all about the setting, as opposed to moving the story forward.  There are a lot of people who like that kind of movie; me- not so much.  Aside from that, the movie has good Acting, good Set Design and seems well put-together.  I even liked the old-school effects, be them make-up related or otherwise.  If you like movies that are all about atmosphere and not so much about the plot, you'll love this import gem.  It does leave me with one lingering question- Is this Widescreen enough for you?
Next up, a Mondo Macabro release from Spain with an infamous 'S' rating.  It's like a rip-off movie...of like six different films.  Stay tuned...

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