After apprenticing himself to a painter, a man decides that the painter's knowledge isn't enough--he wants his wife too. But as it turns out, the painter's death doesn't keep him from exacting revenge.
The seduction of death itself (in the form of an alluring ghost) is familiar enough territory in Japanese ghost stories (Ghost Story Of Yotsuya, Kuroneko, etc), the twist here being Communist director Yamamoto's playful depiction of the villagers' efforts to thwart the ghost's advances towards their middle class school teacher, Shinzaburou.
As with most Yamamoto films, the emphasis here is on the ensemble playing of the cast rather than any leads. That said, the roles of Banzou and his wife do seem rather overplayed, probably betraying their origin as kabuki grotesques.
Handsomely shot (Chishi Makiura) and scored (Sei Ikeno) to evoke a vivid sense of the dark, sticky nights of Obon, this is a curious and thoughtful horror film that somehow manages to give Bhuddism, capitalism and family a good kicking within the restrictions of the genre and the source material.
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