This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series finds the anti-hero in an area where the locals are oppressed, suppressed and held against their wills. Part of the coercive forces trace back to ...
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This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero talked into escorting a precious religious artifact to Kyoto, Japan. A sect of Christian swordsmen are lying in wait to steal the ... See full summary »
Nemuri Kyoshiro, a youthful and cynical ronin with unparalleled skill, is approached by both sides in a game of corruption, ambition, and double crosses. The leader of the Kaga clan, who ... See full summary »
Two devious retainers are competing to take control of a fief when the current Lord dies, but involving Kyoshiro in the conflict against his will is the textbook example of a bad idea - ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero involved when as an act of vengeance a band of samurai whose master was unceremoniously assassinated by agents of the clan, when he ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the red-haired swordsman on his way to the city of Edo when he comes across the scene of a woman in the midst of a knife fight with a man. When... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the quite reluctant hero refuse to come to the assistance of a Japanese Christian in an age of both proselytizing and persecution, but later ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series finds the anti-hero in an area where the locals are oppressed, suppressed and held against their wills. Part of the coercive forces trace back to the lord of the area and for the swordsman to rise, resist and fight he first has to wade his way through a number of traps and assassins, except luckily a couple of them are female and attractive and hence desirable in bed.Written by
There's no deviation from the Nemuri Kyoshiro formula here. If it ain't broke don't fix it Daiei probably thought, which is what turned Daiei properties like Nemuri and Zatoichi in the staples of puply chambara cinema they are. Nemuri arrives at a small village, a fight is posed then postponed, there's a place called the Devil's Fortress and people are being kept locked there and tortured by the villainy occupants, then at some point the villainy occupants are introduced to us by name and a shadowy connection to the Shogun is implied. There's usually a "Spider Woman" involved, she's as beautiful as she is wicked, this time played by Makao Midori who gives a great show, and all the bad guys are cartoon cutouts that spell "evil" none too subtly.
For the next hour the road spits out wily female assassins at Nemuri, who chops them down or seduces them out of their clothes then chops them down. It's no wonder that Nemuri has almost completely lost track of his initial purpose established in the first movies of the series: revenge against the devilish priest who raped and killed his mother during a Black Mass. Female assassins have been throwing themselves at him for the past 6-7 movies and he's bed most of them down.
It all gets a bit repetitive after a while but the explosive finales promised by the Nemuri series almost without fail make every one of these movies worthwhile. Here the devious scheming son of the Shogun becomes witness to the Full Moon Cut like so many before him, there's a decrepit cabin out in the fields, fake papier-mache crows fly over it and a woman lays crucified inside, we are treated to not-so-subtle repudiations of samurai honor, and Nemuri recovers the young protégé he was looking for but not exactly as he was hoping. Like a Roger Corman Poe film, Human Tarantula opens with closeup shots of an inky substance flowing in abstract patterns and ends with a cursed castle going up in flames, and like a Roger Corman Poe film, it's not so much the familiar plot that makes it worthwhile, but the charismatic protagonist and the extravagant set-pieces of stylized violence.
The recreation of the Black Mass that shows up here as Nemuri's memory (reverie?) is probably the most impressive thing in the movie, it's like something out of a Sergio Martino giallo with a naked Japanese woman in place of a naked Edwige Fenech. A pale female body hovers in complete darkness, fire-engine red blood trickles down on it, and a procession of hooded figures carrying candles circles at the bottom of the frame.
What sets this one apart is the great score that sounds like the opening bars from a Morricone spaghetti western punched through with lots of crooning by eerie female voices. Sergio Leone may had seen Yojimbo in a Rome theater back in 1960-1 but it probably wasn't until this point in time when spaghetti exports hit Japanese screens - those showing 'foreign' movies at least, because most of the rest were playing Toho's kaiju movies, Daiei chambara like Zatoichi (Nemuri was probably the one impressionable teenagers had to sneak in to see because the tone is darker and the content more perverse), goofy teen comedies and Ken Takakura's and Koji Tsuruta's ninkyo eigas.
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