Yotsuya Kaidan Part II (1949)

aka The Ghost of Yotsuya Part II
Article 3252 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-15-2010
Posting Date: 7-10-2010
Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
Featuring Ken Uehara, Kinuyo Tanaka, Keiji Sada
Country: Japan
What it is: Almost a ghost story

Torn by guilt and hounded by a blackmailer, the man who killed his wife finds himself haunted by her ghost… or could he be going mad?

This is the part of the story where the horror manifests itself, but the movie appears to have taken the tack that the ghost is not real per se, but a reflection of the husband’s guilt. In other words, we’re dealing not with the supernatural but with the descent into madness. This might be all well and good if my copy was in English or I understood Japanese, but since neither is the case, I’m mostly stuck with trying to read between the lines of long conversations. Personally, I think horror fans will get much more satisfaction out of the 1956 version. Still, there are interesting touches here; I like the movie’s interest in doors (there are a lot of scenes involving them, enough so I did notice it), and one of the eerier moments is when a wood platform seemingly changes its direction in the water of its own accord. I did a little hunting around and found some plot descriptions that helped a little; much of the talk involves a blackmail scheme against the murderer, continued investigations on the wife’s disappearance, and the involvement of a man who was forced to help hide the bodies.

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