Up 7,606 this week

Hiruko the Goblin (1991)
"Yôkai hantâ: Hiruko" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.9/10 from 887 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 17 critic

A school was built on one of the Gates of Hell, behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be free to roam the Earth. Hiruko is a goblin sent to Earth on a reconnaissance ... See full summary »



(manga "Kairyû-sai no yoru - yôkai hantâ"), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

10 Best Back-to-School TV Shows

Dust off your varsity jacket and get excited for fall with our list of the 10 best back-to-school TV shows.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 16 Apr 2011
a list of 46 titles
created 16 Oct 2011
a list of 352 titles
created 15 Mar 2012
a list of 24 titles
created 28 Jan 2014
a list of 25 titles
created 11 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Hiruko the Goblin (1991)

Hiruko the Goblin (1991) on IMDb 5.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Hiruko the Goblin.
1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Marebito (2004)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A fear-obsessed freelance cameraman (Shinya Tsukamoto) investigates an urban legend involving mysterious spirits that haunt the subways of Tokyo.

Director: Takashi Shimizu
Stars: Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita, Kazuhiro Nakahara
Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Full-throttle splatter-ific Japanese cyberpunk science fiction/horror at its most aggressive, this mind-blower about alien parasites that turn their human hosts into slave "Necroborgs" will leave you dizzy and drained - in a good way.

Directors: Yudai Yamaguchi, Jun'ichi Yamamoto
Stars: Issei Takahashi, Aoba Kawai, Kenichi Kawasaki
Full Metal Yakuza (Video 1997)
Comedy | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An inexperienced gangster is killed alongside his strong, respected boss and awakens to find a mad scientist has given him a new body made partly of his boss and partly of indestructible bionics.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Tomorowo Taguchi, Takeshi Caesar
Sôseiji (1999)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A successful doctor, Yukio's picture perfect life is gradually wrecked, and taken over by his avenging twin brother, who bumps off his family members one by one and reclaims his lover who is now Yukio's wife.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Stars: Masahiro Motoki, Ryô, Yasutaka Tsutsui
Bullet Ballet (1998)
Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man sees his life changed for ever when his fiancee shoots herself. Baffled, he wants by all means to obtain such a weapon of destruction and he finds himself caught in a violent group of... See full summary »

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Stars: Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Kirina Mano, Tatsuya Nakamura
Haze (2005)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man wakes up to find himself locked in a tiny, cramped concrete room, in which he can barely move. He doesn't remember why he is there and where he came from. He has a terrible stomach ... See full summary »

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Stars: Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Takahiro Murase, Takahiro Kandaka
Donten (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Short | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A man gradually transforms into a robotic, metal-encrusted monster.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Stars: Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, Tomorowo Taguchi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A compulsive liar promises to provide his friends with evidence of a fabricated visit to Tokyo. He makes the trip, informing his parents that he is visiting a potential university. An ... See full summary »

Director: Tomoyuki Furumaya
Stars: Hiro Komura, Tomiyuki Kunihiro, Kaoru Mizuki


Credited cast:
Kenji Sawada ...
Hieda Reijirou
Masaki Kudou ...
Masao Yabe
Hideo Murota ...
Takashi Yabe
Megumi Ueno ...
Tsukishima Reiko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bang-ho Cho ...
(as Banhô Chô)
Ken Mitsuishi
Imari Tsuji
Kimiko Yo


A school was built on one of the Gates of Hell, behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be free to roam the Earth. Hiruko is a goblin sent to Earth on a reconnaissance mission. He beheads students in order to assemble their heads on the demons' spider-like bodies. Hieda, an archaeology professor, and Masao, a haunted student, investigate the gory deaths and eventually battle Hiruko. Written by Pete Stogis <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Fantasy | Horror


See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 May 1991 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Hiruko the Goblin  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


References Ghostbusters (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A film about a head
12 May 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Hiruko the Goblin (aka Yokai Hanta – Hiruko) director Shinya Tsukamoto has said that this is "a film about a head". I'm not sure that's quite right, but given the relative inscrutability of the film and Tsukamoto's self-professed love of cryptic ambiguity--substantial enough that he has said to not know what certain scenes or films of his are about--I suppose that "a film about a head" will have to do.

But actually, there's much more to Hiruko the Goblin than that, and at least on a surface level, the film is often almost pedestrian in presenting certain horror conventions. It's just that when you try to tie all of the scenes together, or when you try to figure out what certain more poetic and surreal dialogue and events have to do with what's going on elsewhere, the film's transparency for interpretation can harden into a block of concrete quicker than you can say "Ni"! But that's probably how Tsukamoto wants it, and if we're judging the film solely on how well it achieves its aims, we'd have to say it kicks butt. But that's not quite right, either, because a film could aim to suck, and if it does suck, we'd then have to say that it kicks butt. So we have to factor in how enjoyable/aesthetically rewarding the film is in what it sets out to do. On those grounds, I have to stick with a 7 out of 10, or a "C" here.

But enough with trying to be as impenetrably dense as Tsukamoto. Here are the basics of the plot as well as I can understand it: Hieda Reijirou (Kenji Sawada) is an archaeologist who has a penchant for inventing odd gadgets using everyday items, often kitchen utensils. At the beginning of the film, he makes some significant archaeological "mound" discovery. Then we switch to Takashi Yabe (Naoto Takenaka) and the much younger and more attractive Tsukishima Reiko (Megumi Ueno), who are exploring some cave when an unseen force comes after them and makes them quickly dolly along with the camera for some comical close-ups of "terror", ala the opening of Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky (1977). (Did I mention that this is sort of a horror comedy?) Then we switch to three school kids, apparently classmates of Reiko's, the most important of which is Yabe's son, Masao (Masaki Kudou), who are searching for Reiko at the school. They see the scary janitor, Watanabe (Hideo Murota), then get involved in an interesting horror situation at the school, when Reijirou shows up with a bunch of gadgets for some reason. Eventually, Reijirou and Masao Yabe team up and try to solve whatever the mystery was--and it turns out to be fairly bizarre and poetic.

That plot description probably sounds a lot more vague than it would have to, but in addition to the film being a bit confusing, I have to be careful to not give too much away. Maybe it would be better--since surely it's mostly horror fans reading this review who would be wondering if they should check out the film--to say that the first major section is kind of a combination of haunted house/slasher stuff, with a heavy Evil Dead (1981) vibe (Tsukamoto even uses Raimi-like fast hand-held "tracking" shots through hallways, weird angles, and even invokes a chainsaw at one point). The second major section turns into more of a supernatural/creature story--imagine David Cronenberg doing an H.P. Lovecraft film and you'll get the idea.

All of this stuff is good on some level, even if it's pretty difficult to put together. Among the things that I was still bewildered about when the film ended were: What was the relationship between Reiko, Reijirou, Takashi Yabe, and the three boys? What did all of that religion/mythology dialogue have to do with the plot? Why did Masao Yabe have appearance and functional resemblances to his ancestor? Just what was the deal with Masao's back--why was that happening? If you like weirdness, and you don't mind a bit of derivativeness and confusion, you'll love Hiruko the Goblin.

There were a lot of things I loved about the film. I loved Reijirou's gadgets. I loved the blood/gore/decapitations (part of why this is "a film about a head"). Tsukamoto sure knows how to get the visceral stuff right. I liked the humor. I loved some of the cinematography, even if Tsukamoto had his Raimi notes written on his palm while shooting. I loved the special effects, especially the Cronenbergish stuff (and this is another part of why this is "a film about a head"). I loved a lot of the music--especially the melancholy song that Reiko kept singing (which reminded me of some similarly-flavored songs from Suicide Club (Jisatsu saakuru, 2002)--I watched that only a couple weeks before seeing Hiruko). Some of the other music was a bit like generic 1980s "synth-horror" music, but on the other hand, some music that sounded close to that was interesting jazz fusion stuff. I loved the almost corny (well, maybe it just was corny) final scenes, one of which seemed like maybe Richard Kelly kinda stole it for Donnie Darko (2001).

So there were a lot of positive points about the film. I just hope I'm not going to have to pass a quiz on the plot, themes or subtexts.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
is this movie?,,,,,, DuctTapeAvenger
My Review of this Obscure Horror Hybrid jayskitstar
Discuss Hiruko the Goblin (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: