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"Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge

Old 09-26-12, 05:28 PM
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"Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge






Kuroneko (1968)



Selected by Random.org



IMDB ENTRY

NOTE: This is an optional subset film that does not count as an entry. It's purely for discussion.

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

MAIN THREAD | LIST THREAD

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 09-30-12, 12:21 PM
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Re: "Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge

Bump since half the globe is already "live" for this optional subset entry. I'll be watching it as soon as I get home from work hopefully.
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Old 09-30-12, 12:35 PM
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Re: "Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge

This is a wonderful film - spooky, darkly amusing, and atmospheric. Those who enjoy it should also check out Onibaba, another horror film from the same director with an even stronger emphasis on sex and sensuality.
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Old 10-01-12, 12:20 AM
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Re: "Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge

It's great to begin the month with a movie that asks the question "mother, are you really a cat?"

I enjoyed Kuroneko a lot. The pacing seems odd because the film jumps right into the supernatural ghost elements without much subtlety then pauses to center around the bittersweet family relationship. It's funny how the great "black cat" theme seems to drop about halfway through, until the end of the movie ("My arm is my weapon, without it I can not drink the blood of the samurai"). Kuroneko has some interest feminist social commentary. That the family was changed so much by war that the husband could never really return home and was left forever longing, pitting honor versus family. Aside from the melodrama so much about Kuroneko felt scattered (on/off black cat theme, god of evil, samurai philosophy) but the ghost women were creepy with nice imagery. I love the cheesy quasi martial arts aerobatics that come across slapstick style rather than serious.

I enjoyed Kuroneko better than Onibaba, the emphasis on valor and chivalry is more interesting where Onibaba seemed more about impoverished savagery. Although Onibaba has some great atmosphere with the bamboo swamp Kuroneko has a stronger plot but so much of it feels scattered and awkward. Parts of Kuroneko felt overly familiar.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-02-12 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 10-01-12, 01:30 AM
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Re: "Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge


Iíve been a fan of Onibaba, one of the films that director Kaneto Shindo made before Kuroneko, ever since I saw it for the first time more than a decade ago. Because of this, I went into my viewing of Kuroneko with high expectationsÖand I came away from that viewing with very mixed feelings. Itís not that I didnít like Kuroneko; I liked it very much, for the first eighty-five minutes or so. But the last fifteen minutes confused me, so much so that I went online to try to find out what exactly I had just seen.

Thereís a whole lot to admire in Kuroneko, even if Shindo loses control of the narrative near the end. In fact, one of the delights of the film for me was not having any idea where it was going to go next. When the first samurai sits to have sake with the ghosts, several things reminded me of Cocteauís Beauty and the Beast (and recalled Michael Weldonís question in his review of Beauty and the Beast in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film--why canít other films look like this?). I especially thought that the motherís hair, swishing against her back like a catís tail, was a perfect touch. Later, in the middle of the film, when the husband and wife reunite, I was reminded of a later film, Nagisa Oshimaís In the Realm of the Senses, due to the eroticism of those scenes. In fact, I found Kuroneko to be extraordinarily sensual, with certain shots so vivid as to be almost tactile.

Overall, I liked Kuroneko a lot. I expect to one day love it, once I figure out exactly what Shindo was trying to express in the last fifteen minutes.
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Old 10-02-12, 09:39 AM
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Re: "Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge

Not my kinda film. While I thought the story was interesting, the movie itself was a little too arty-farty for me. I did think it had some great scenes and some spooky sets and I can see why it would have a following. I just felt it dragged along too much and two-thirds in, I just didn't care.

My rating: **1/2 out of *****
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Old 10-02-12, 11:23 AM
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Re: "Kuroneko" Reviews/Discussion - 2012 Horror Challenge

This is a great companion piece to Onibaba. I happen to prefer the earlier film, mostly because of the settings and atmosphere, but there's a lot to admire here. The film starts off strong, with a grim and brutal opening scene that's well done. It sets the mood for what is to follow.

Whereas Onibaba is very much a slow burn film, this movie sort of jumps right into the supernatural elements, which I think actually helps the film remain unpredictable. You're not sure exactly where the story is taking you. The first few attacks on the Samurai are well done, suspenseful, and I like how they seem to get easier as time goes on.

Once the protagonist comes into play, the viewer is conflicted; up until now, you can sympathize towards the ghosts, because of what happened to them, and we have no investment in the Samurai they attack. However Gintoki seems like a good guy and you kind of want to see him reunite with his family.

Gintoki's orders to slay the ghosts while still being in love with his wife, and his wife's sacrifice to immortality just to share a few nights with him, add some interesting depth the what could be a typical ghost story.

The finale is creepy, if a bit bewildering. It's a bit frustrating to see Gintoki open the temple to what must obviously be the remaining ghost. But I don't think it really hurts the film much. I do prefer Onibaba, but this film is different, and good enough to stand on its own, and is certainly worth a viewing.
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