HUNDRED MONSTERS (yokai hyaku monogatari) (1968 JAPAN) D: KIMIYOSHI YASUDA W: TETSUROU YOSHIDA P: YAMATO YATSUHIRO
A small village and it's temple are about to be destroyed because a greedy, crooked businessman (Takashi Kanda) wants to build a gambling den/whorehouse. A storyteller tells one hundred ghost stories, but Kanda and his samurai cronies (led by Ryutaro Gomi) refuse to complete the ceremony and don't pray for the evil spirits to be dispelled. Various demons turn up to exact their revenge. These include a fire-breathing witch, lumpy faced entities with no facial features, a giant floating woman's face that laughs, a woman with an extending neck and a cyclops. The most bizarre, memorable scene has a comic-relief retard drawing an umbrella monster on the wall. This transforms into a dancing cartoon animation, and that becomes a "real", odd FX creation. An old-style parasol umbrella with one eye and a long tongue that hops around on one leg! Jun Fujimaki stars as a heroic Shogun spy. With Jun Hamamura, Shinobu Araki, Miwa Takada, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Sei Haraizumi, Yoshida Yoshio, Kazunari Doi, Saburo Date, Shousaku Sugiama, Tatsuo Hanabu, Shouzo Nanbu, Shinobu Araki, Kikasue Tamao, Taketoshi Naito and Yukio Horikita. This Daiei release is slow-moving (and it's only just under 80 mins long), but pretty interesting if you're unfamiliar with traditional Japanese demon folklore. It was a hit so BIG MONSTER WAR and TOKAIDO ROAD MONSTERS followed. Director Yasuda had previously helmed the original MAJIN (with the same FX guy, Yoshiyuki Kuroda). Incidentally, the whole hundred ghosts/monsters theme can be traced back to an Edo period spook storytelling parlour game.

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