Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare

September 19, 2016 at 3:31 am (7 Heads, Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare) (, , , )

Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare – 1968 – Japan

In medieval times, treasure hunters explore the Babylonian ruins of Ur and awaken a bird-like vampire monster. The vampire (named Daimon) flies to Japan and possesses the magistrate of a town. He commits various atrocities such as drinking blood, acting rude, kidnapping children, and killing a dog. A young samurai teams up with a Buddhist monk and some friendly monsters from Japanese folklore. They defeat Daimon by stabbing out his eyes.

Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare is memorable for its portrayal of traditional Japanese yokai (monsters, literally translated as “strange things”). Impressive costumes and puppets depict the Kappa (a turtle man), Futakuchi-onna (a woman with a hideous face on the back of her head), Kasa-obake (an umbrella monster), Rokurokubi (a woman with a really long neck), Abura-sumashi (a dwarf with a big head), and Nuppeppo (a featureless lump of flesh). Rokurokubi’s serpentine gravity-defying neck is especially cool. Predictably, Daimon defeats her by tying it in a knot.

The special effects in Spook Warefare demonstrate fantastic artistry. The afore-mentioned costumes and puppets are great, and there are plentiful effects as the monsters glow, turn invisible, and fly around. The quality of the sets and matte paintings is also superb.

With its simple story, Spook Warfare would be good for kids if their parents do not mind a little gore. Along with Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters (1968) and Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts (1969), it is part of a trilogy of films featuring the same yokai. Spook Warfare was remade in 2005 as the Great Yokai War, directed by Takashi Miike.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. I now know what a Buddhist exorcism looks like.

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