6.9/10
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3 user 6 critic

Black Cat Mansion (1958)

Bôrei kaibyô yashiki (original title)
The descendant of the servant of a cruel and vicious samurai returns to the town where she was born, only to find that a cat who is possessed by the spirits of those murdered by the samurai is trying to kill her.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Toshio Hosokawa ...
Dr. Tetsuichiro Kuzumi
Yuriko Ejima ...
Yoriko Kuzumi
Takashi Wada ...
Lord Shogen (as Keinosuke Wada)
Ryûzaburô Nakamura ...
Kokingo
Fujie Satsuki ...
Shogen's mother
Arata Shibata ...
Shinnojo, Shogen's son
Fumiko Miyata ...
Lady Miyaji
Noriko Kitazawa ...
Yae
Hiroaki Kurahashi ...
Kenichi, Yoriko's brother
Rei Ishikawa ...
Saheiji
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Midori Chikuma ...
Toyoko Hiramatsu
Kôji Hirose ...
Sudo
Eijiro Kawai ...
Driver
Den Kunikata ...
Hachiro'uta
Akiko Mie ...
Satsuki
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Storyline

The descendant of the servant of a cruel and vicious samurai returns to the town where she was born, only to find that a cat who is possessed by the spirits of those murdered by the samurai is trying to kill her.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror

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Details

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Release Date:

13 July 1958 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Black Cat Mansion  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Moody atmosphere and film making undone by Kabuki influences
22 March 2008 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

Director Nakagawa's "Jigoku" is probably one of his most famous films from a career that started in the 1930s and improbably ended with the proto pinku Okatsu series in 1969. He directed one more film 13 years later before his death in 1984. "Black Cat Mansion" or "Mansion of the Ghost Cat" is sort of in the middle and continues the ghost and horror genre he specialized in after World War II.

A doctor and his sick wife move to the countryside so she may recuperate. They move into a long unused samurai mansion owned by her family. It's the 1950's and the doctor is a rational minded person. He scoffs at his wife's skittishness in the creepy old house. One rainy day a creepy old woman arrives to the clinic the doctor has opened in part of the mansion. She attempts to strangle the wife but disappears once the doctor shows up at the sound of his wife's screams. Even though the nurse has seen the old woman also, the doctor can't believe that there even was an old woman because he didn't see her. Things get worse and the doctor learns about the legend of the mansion from a Buddhist priest. Here we see the story of the ill-tempered samurai lord and the Go master.

Dark and moody with a creepy, tension filled music track, this movie is effective on many levels. Nakagawa's previous experience with ghost stories is apparent as he handles the creepy factor very well. The modern day sequences are shot in black and white while the legend is shot in color. Most of the film is very well done and really lays on the atmosphere until the vengeful cat spirit gets to work. Unfortunately the film makers rely on Kabuki theater techniques too much and unlike the rest of the film these scenes are over lit so when the cat demon raises it's ears in attack, instead of being terrified you are immediately reminded of the Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz. A strange sequence where the cat demon makes a servant girl do acrobatic flips on and off a porch before it kills her really kills the mood. In between these scenes are effective horror. Later the movie returns to present day and the great black and white cinematography.

Only 67 minutes long the film is a mixed bag. I enjoyed it but the very stagy cat demon might make this a disappointment for other viewers.


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