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


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


Drama | Horror





Release Date:

13 July 1958 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Black Cat Mansion  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

`Avenge us on Shogen.until his line is extinct!'
9 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

The Mansion of the Ghost Cat shows the misdeeds of a prior generation not only bringing suffering and death to that generation's members, but also threatening their blameless descendants. Ghosts are put to rest only when the misdeeds are brought to light and treated properly. In the context of post-war Japanese society (a `house' haunted by the past), the message of Nobuo Nakagawa's third ghost film is hard to ignore.

Viewed simply as a ghost story, the film includes several creepy sequences. In a darkened hospital corridor, a sheet-draped body is wheeled silently by a masked figure. During the first visit to the derelict mansion, a woman with a shock of white hair is glimpsed churning butter. A wall disintegrates at the height of a thunderstorm, revealing an alcove, and a rotting corpse slowly topples out. Unfortunately, much of the sinister atmosphere dispels whenever the cat spirit itself appears, particularly when its furry ears pop up.

The film is structured differently from any of Nakagawa's previous work. The opening and closing sections have a contemporary setting and are acted naturalistically. The lengthy middle section is set in the previous century and presented more impressionistically, once again showing the strong influence on the director of kabuki theatre. Unusually, the flashback is filmed in colour, and is therefore more vivid than the modern-day monochromatic bookends.

Nakagawa seems to have seized on the opportunity for technical experimentation, too, although not always successfully. This is the first film he made in scope, but the compositions rarely take full advantage of the broader screen. More effective is the use of colour, with pastel shades predominating for costumes and settings, in order to heighten the dramatic impact of the sudden appearance of blood. A number of sequences try out dramatic lighting effects, such as the dimming of the light level just before ghosts appear and the use of silhouettes. Towards the end of the middle section, there's a montage sequence that's Nakagawa's first attempt to use editing for dramatic effect. And, of course, he continues to experiment with the innovative and sometimes startling camera moves that characterize all his films.

The Mansion of the Ghost Cat represents the director's evolution to a more sophisticated level of filmmaking, both in theme and technique. It contains the seeds that would later blossom into his most famous work, Jigoku.

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