8.1/10
1,533
7 user 8 critic

Demons (1971)

Shura (original title)
After being robbed by a geisha, a ronin warrior carves a bloody path to seek revenge.

Director:

Toshio Matsumoto

Writers:

Nanboku Tsuruya (play), Shûji Ishizawa (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Dogra Magra (1988)
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young man kills his bride on the day of his marriage and goes insane. He wakes up in an asylum with no memory, left in the hands of two mysterious doctors who relate his condition with his biological identity.

Director: Toshio Matsumoto
Stars: Yôji Matsuda, Shijaku Katsura, Hideo Murota
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The trials and tribulations of Eddie and other transvestites in Japan.

Director: Toshio Matsumoto
Stars: Pîtâ, Osamu Ogasawara, Yoshimi Jô
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young boys' coming of age tale set in a strange, carnivalesque village becomes the recreation of a memory that the director has twenty years later.

Director: Shûji Terayama
Stars: Kaoru Yachigusa, Keiko Niitaka, Masumi Harukawa
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young drifter and a precocious girl of sixteen slowly form a bond in a small town haunted by its wartime past.

Director: Toshio Matsumoto
Stars: Kumiko Akiyoshi, Itsuro Shimoda, Michiko Saga
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.

Director: Yoshishige Yoshida
Stars: Mariko Okada, Toshiyuki Hosokawa, Yûko Kusunoki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Near a remote Buddhist monastery, a young man falls in love with his sister and gets her pregnant. After a monk finds out, the young man becomes an assistant to a master sculptor, only to proceed to complicate matters with his affairs.

Director: Akio Jissôji
Stars: Michiko Tsukasa, Ryô Tamura, Eiji Okada
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An angst-ridden teen dealing with his dysfunctional family hits the streets. The story is inter-cut with various psychedelic, energetic vignettes.

Director: Shûji Terayama
Stars: Hideaki Sasaki, Masahiro Saito, Yukiko Kobayashi
Himiko (1974)
Drama | Fantasy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A freestyle, imagined telling of the life of shaman queen Himiko, who falls in love with her half-brother, making her powers weaken thus putting her position to risk.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Shima Iwashita, Masao Kusakari, Rie Yokoyama
Kuroneko (1968)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two women are raped and killed by samurai soldiers. Soon they reappear as vengeful ghosts who seduce and brutally murder the passing samurai.

Director: Kaneto Shindô
Stars: Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kei Satô
Mandara (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two student couples stumble upon a cult dedicated to promoting the primordial human state through rape and agriculture.

Director: Akio Jissôji
Stars: Kôji Shimizu, Akiko Mori, Ryô Tamura
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A doomed love between a paper merchant and a courtesan.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Kichiemon Nakamura, Shima Iwashita, Shizue Kawarazaki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After being raped in an unknown rooftop, nineteen year-old girl Poppo meets a mysterious boy, and both share their sexual traumas and fears, with fatal consequences.

Director: Kôji Wakamatsu
Stars: Mimi Kozakura, Michio Akiyama, Yôko Yamamoto
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Katsuo Nakamura ... Gengobei
Juro Kara Juro Kara ... Sangorô
Yasuko Sanjo Yasuko Sanjo ... Koman
Masao Imafuku Masao Imafuku ... Hachiemon
Kappei Matsumoto Kappei Matsumoto ... Ryôshin
Tamotsu Tamura Tamotsu Tamura ... Yasuke
Hideo Kanze Hideo Kanze ... Takubei
Shinji Amano Shinji Amano ... Inosuke
Hatsuo Yamaya Hatsuo Yamaya ... Chôhachi
Yusuke Minami Yusuke Minami ... Kankurô
Takashi Ebata Takashi Ebata ... Torazô (as Kanji Ebata)
Atsuko Kawaguchi Atsuko Kawaguchi ... Kikuno
Edit

Storyline

After being robbed by a geisha, a ronin warrior carves a bloody path to seek revenge.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

13 January 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Demons See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ship's cables and hawsers.
15 October 2009 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

The only possible parallel I can furnish to position SHURA in the greater map of Japanese cinema is the last 20 minutes of that soul-destroying masterpiece Kihachi Okamoto directed in 1966, the indomitable SWORD OF DOOM. And even that comparison leaves a little something to be desired. Not only because SHURA is an exhausting 2+ hours of that same brooding sludge so thick you could slice it with a wakizashi, but also because, directed as it is by experimental guerilla rebel Toshio Matsumoto, it stands as a somewhat different beast from the general hobnob of genre cinema.

Woven of that same tragic almost Shakespearian fabric, with a protagonist who like Ryunosuke Tsukue in SWORD OF DOOM finds himself doomed to walk the path of demons in a downward spiral into madness and despair, SHURA is as bleak dark and hopeless a jidaigeki as was ever execrated and sealed from man and beast on celluloid. Unlike Ryunosuke Tsukue, however, who starts on the Great Buddha Mountain Pass and slowly cuts his way into his own private hell, Gengobe in SHURA starts in that private hell and plunges himself deeper in depths of the soul unknown. The movie opens with Gengobe hunted in pitch black by hovering lanterns held by unseen persecutors. He enters a house and finds a scene of carnage and mayhem, the floor strewn with mutilated bodies, limbs, others hanging dead from the ceiling. I told you it only starts there.

The movie itself exists in a hopeless purgatory. No establishing shots of anything. No daytime. The passage of time signaled with intertitles. The occasional external shot, a patch of gravel road, the frontside of a house, offers no relief, no room for breath, because it reminds us that there are no horizons or depth for the eye to rest. Everything was probably shot on soundstages with only a few lights strategically placed hither and thither, no doubt a lingering remnant of kabuki theater from which Japanese cinema has borrowed heavily. With no broader world to be measured against, the interiors and the story that takes place inside and the characters that breathe and walk and double-cross and slaughter each other in them, all seem to hover suspended in absolute suffocating darkness and everlasting night.

The title really says it all. The Ashuras, a rank of lower demigods in Buddhism, are meant to reflect the mental state of a human being obsessed with force and violence, always looking for an excuse to get into a fight, angry with everyone and unable to maintain calm or solve problems peacefully.

It's not only cynic or tragic as the best of jidaigekis usually are, it's positively bleak and unremitting. That shots and entire scenes repeat themselves automaton-like, first taking place inside the protagonist's anguished mind and then reality, only serves to reinforce the existential phlegm through which SHURA wades waist-deep for two hours. The atmosphere is so oppressing that questions of clunky expositional dialogue such as the characters often spout ("this is your wife's head" says a character while brandishing said head in plain sight) and theatrical exaggerated acting are rendered almost meaningless.

The story is still good, gripping, engrossing, as classic and plain and stripped of all fat as the best jidaigekis usually are, with a limited cast and sets that hint at the stageplay origins of the script, but in the end it's the overarching feeling of despair that stays with you. A movie so much of its time and place, almost impossible to even think of it as coming from anywhere else than Japan of the late 60's-early 70's, that will by its very nature appeal only to a limited audience. If you came this far and liked what you read then you're probably ready to brave SHURA. Beware all who enter. There is real cacodemonia here.


24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 7 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed