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Kaidan Review

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A collection of four horror tales, Black Hair, The Woman in the Snow, Hoichi the Earless and In a Cup of Tea.

★★★★

Four traditional ghost stories, based on a collection by turn-of-the-century Western tale collector Lafcadio Hearn. A stylised, colourful and strange picture, Kwaidan is sometimes a touch slow for non-Japanese audiences and the tiny plots strain under the weight of the amazing images. However, these are amazing: a frost-haired snow demon who strikes a bargain with an unwary traveller; a stately sea battle in the fog; courtesans committing suicide in blood-frothed water after their master has been killed; a man trying to foil demons by having prayers painted over his entire body but suffering when the painter misses his ears; a samurai who sees someone else's reflection in his bowl of tea and unwittingly drinks the other man's soul.

Subliminally influential on a lot of movies, this is gorgeous to look at but also has its scary moments