Cruel Ghost Legend (1968)
aka Kaidan zankoku monogatari
Article 5896 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Kazuo Hase
Featuring Masumi Harukawa, Nobue Kaneko, Saeda Kawaguchi
What it is: Bloody curse story
When a down-on-his-luck samurai kills a blind man for his money, a curse is set upon him and his family.
Despite a title which promises a ghost, that isn’t quite what we get here; at least I don’t recall the blind man’s ghost taking any active role in the proceedings. However, the curse is very much real, as each of the members of the family suffers for the crime committed in the opening reels. It is, however, one of those movies that unfolds in a very confusing manner, and until the final reel it feels more like an exercise in exploitation than a horror movie per se; there is a lot of sex, a lot of disgusting behavior, and a lot of grotesque blood-letting. It’s also not very much fun; I don’t think there’s a single likable character in the whole movie. The ending does clarify a number of plot points, but I’m glad I saw the 88 minute version rather than the one that ran two hours; I suspect that one has an extra half-hour of confusion. All in all, I think the good points of this one slightly outweigh the bad, but it is one of those movies that I don’t feel motivated to give a second try.