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Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 Days of Halloween 2014: Day 11





Week #2: Weird Werewolves
Kibakichi
2004
Tomo'o Haraguchi

In Edo period Japan we meet, Kibakichi (RyĆ»ji Harada), a lone swordsman cloaked in animal skins. He readily eliminates a dozen bandits on a lonesome road, proving he’s a skilled warrior. Stopping in a small village, he’s lured to a gambling house. There here learns the entire village is composed of Yokai, monsters of a great variety of forms, who have been hiding out disguised as humans. Their leader, Boss Ounizo, has made a deal with a local samurai to support him in return for living out in the open. The samurai however, has discovered modern weapons are even more potent, and he decides to erase any dealings he’s had the Yokai. Kibakichi’s fury at the slaughter of his fellow monsters causes him to transform…

Kibakichi reminded me of Nightbreed (1990) in a lot of ways, with a man/monster deciding whether to put his life at risk for other monsters who are being threatened by humans. This is much of more of a samurai film then a straight-up horror film, although there are some gruesome scenes and some inventive looking creatures. The final third becomes all out action with a wolfed out Kibakichi leaping around and tearing arms off of bad guys amidst a hail of gunfire. There was even some monster suit wrestling which was giving me War of the Garganutas (1966) flashbacks. There is an air of tragedy that hangs over the film, which tempers the more outlandish moments, but it was still an unusual and interesting take on a werewolf story.

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