My first Masaki Kobayashi film and after watching it I must say I would love to explore more of him. The film is haunting and creative bouquet of four supernatural horror stories each with surprise ending. The film won special Jury prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1965. Well, it’s not cup of tea for those who’re obsessed with gory, torture or zombie horror flicks. But for those who love to watch fine psychological-supernatural horror films, it’s a big treat.
Kobayashi’s use of artificial sets loaded with bright colorful canvas of background and changing fluorescent shades of light bring elegance of fantasy to screen. Beautiful cinematography and illusive visual effects add haunting atmospheric tension reminding me Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’, though there’s huge dichotomy in treatment. The climactic dawn of ‘The Black Hair’, the background depicting the giant eye in ‘The Woman of the Snow’ and the illusive Buddha temple scenes of ‘Hoichi, the Earless’ (the best part IMO) where blind Hoichi is playing Biwa or are just matchless example of classic Japanese cinema. The last part ‘In a cup of Tea’ is the shortest but intriguing one.
PS- Thanx Vikram for this recommendation. As you said, Both ‘Kwaidan’ and ‘Onibaba’ are absolutely classic psychological horror from Japanese cinema.