Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen
DIRECTOR: KIYOHIKO USHIHARA
CAST: SUMIKO SUZUKI
Screening on Friday, December 7 introduced by Chie Ushihara Berkley, Kiyohiko Usihara's granddaughter.
Little survives of the horror cinema produced in Japan before the wartime years, which makes all the more precious Ushihara’s cat scratch fever dream employing slow motion, double-exposures, and specialty lenses. One of the many “ghost cat” (bakeneko or kaibyo) movies produced by Shinko Kinema studio starring scream queen Sumiko Suzuki, here playing a kabuki actress, Mitsue, who takes out her romantic frustrations on a rival and a helpless feline, only to invite vengeance from beyond the grave. For fans of over-the-top Japanese horror, a chance to see where the delirium began.
35mm print courtesy of Kobe Planet Film Archive. Special thanks to Indiana University Cinema, Jon Vickers and Michael Crandol.