Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Onibaba (1964)

My husband was going to be out of town for a week so, planning ahead, I picked up about 20 horror movies from the library. I had a vision.

All set.

Chosen at random (couldn't decide!) the first film I watched was the absolutely stunning Japanese film, Onibaba.

This is a mesmerizing and emotionally haunting film where a mother and her daughter-in-law try to survive (physically, mentally, and emotional) during a civil war-torn Japan. Living in crippling poverty and starving, they take to some desperate measures to survive. 

And then there's this mask....

I saw one reviewer on IMDB call this film 'poetry', and I agree. It takes a very talented hand to turn the reeds and grass surrounding the womens' hut into such a unique realm for horror. A knot in your throat kind of horror.

It's also takes talent to relay, despite the story's full embrace of *desperation*, how lusty this film is. Vigorous, sensual, vivid - wild. 

This is a beautiful film, poetic, jarring, and chilling. 

Although it moves quickly, this film requires your full attention and patience. Watch in a dark, silent place with no interruptions and preferably alone. Pairs with water.

On a closing note, I can't help but feel there is social commentary tucked away here, buried deep beneath the dirt floor these women sleep on. I honestly can't put my finger on it but my bones tell me it's on age and aging women in particular. Seeing as the literal translation of the title is Demon Hag (according to IMDB) - and I didn't know that before I saw the film - I was surprised by how much I ended up thinking about the mother, and the real life horrors she would face if she didn't have her daughter-in-law there...

I rented this movie from my local library. Use the Find It. Watch It. links on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can see this bone-chilling moral horror tale.

Now back to more films!


  1. Ahhh, to have a library such as yours. I've been hooked on surreal Japanese films since I happened upon Woman in the Dunes many years ago. However, I have slated Mother! for tonight's viewing for pleasure or disappointment. LOL Keep us to date on the rest of the week's picks!

    1. Oh, thank you for the Woman in the Dunes tip! I'll be checking it out! And I'll be providing an update on the horror movie library collection I amassed - and it's hilarious outcome of my binge watching (attempts) :D