Ghost-Cat of the Cursed Swamp (1968)
aka Kaibyo nori no numa
Article 5895 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Yoshihiro Ishikawa
Featuring Ryohei Uchida, Kotaro Satomi, Kyoko Mikage
What it is: Ghost-cat movie
A pair of lovers find themselves in peril when the lord of the area takes a fancy to a woman. They run away to the cursed swamp…
This is perhaps the best ghost-cat movie I’ve seen to date, and there may be several reasons. One is this is one of the few that I’ve seen that actually have English subtitles, so I don’t have to guess what’s going on in the elaborate set-up that takes place before the scary stuff finally springs into action. A second reason is that this is the latest chronologically I’ve seen; those made during the fifties had this churned-out feel that this one avoids. But perhaps the biggest reason is that it has a nice, moody visual style, and it feels like a real effort was made to make this one stand out. This is a good thing, because the story itself is really pretty par for the course; it follows the basic template that I’ve found in place for almost all the ghost-cat movies I’ve seen. The one thing that is missing is the bizarre gymnastic theme; in most of the other movies, we have a scene in which the ghost-cat controls another character and makes them do gymnastic stunts; there’s no equivalent scene here. But for those looking for a solid and effective example of the genre, this is a good choice.