THE SNAKE GIRL AND THE SILVER-HAIRED WITCH
(aka Hebi musume to hakuhatsuma)
Dir: Noriaki Yuasa, 1968.
84 min. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13TH - 10PM
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30TH - 10PM
Based on the Japanese manga comic series by the legendary Kazuo Umezu (and directed with accomplished flair by Gamera/Ultraman helmer Noriaki Yuasa), THE SNAKE GIRL AND THE SILVER-HAIRED WITCH is a delirious, phantasmagorical fantasy-horror relic that screams for re-discovery.
Young girl Sayori leaves the attentive care of an orphanage to live with her distant relatives. Upon arrival, her new father promptly leaves for business and her mother remains strangely quiet. Meanwhile, Sayori begins having visions of someone peeping through her ceiling hole and dropping snakes on her. The dread increases as Sayori discovers another young girl in the house with a macabre, waxy face with cracks on the sides of her mouth. Sayori's dreams intensify to the point of horrid, Freudian nightmares featuring enormous witches, snakes, spiders, and demons atop lavish heaps of psychedelic dissolves! But after she awakes, she soon realizes that the nightmares are becoming real…
Remarkably subversive and sinister for what was ostensibly a family picture about sibling rivalry, Snake Girl is a demented kids's film not to be recommended to kids. While the puppetry FX may slide into (adorably) kitsch territory at times, there's no denying the film's imagination and occasionally brazen sadistic tone. With the mixture of a young girl's narrative and FX-laced dream sequences, Snake Girl comes across as a precursorer or sorts to Nobuhiko Obayashi's funhouse masterpiece Hausu, but made all the more sinister in that it was originally aimed at children!
Wildly inventive and effectively creepy, this is 60s Japanese studio horror of the highest, most surreal order.
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