22 November 2011 | chaos-rampant
The closest parable I can think of to the 60's boom of ghost stories, what is called kaidan in Japan, is the Roger Corman films based on Poe; unsophisticated but competent setups, in these films usually about karmic retribution for anomie, and a final third of horror visualized with some flair and ostentation. It's always this last part that is worth watching, with the first just the solid groundwork.
As with the Corman/Poe films, some of these largely identical films are just more satisfying than others. This is one of those middling affairs and what is to blame, I think, is that it just came out when this cycle was already obsolete and about to be eclipsed from the second end of a double-bill by the new fashion of yakuza and chambara films.
The '59 version of Ghost of Yotsuya by the same filmmaker one could even say it was fresh, aesthetically vibrant, even though the staged illusions were adopted directly from kabuki; by '68 it was tired material film-wise.
Shiro Toyoda's films are interesting counterpoints from this time, when the kaidan film was on its way out; knowing how repetitive these had been, Toyoda reworked conventions into more personal portraits of madness. I suggest you seek those out instead.