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Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen

Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen

Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen

1938 / 71min / 35mm

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.