Thursday, October 29, 2009

Woman in the Snow movie

Kaidan (1964) movie
aka Kwaidan

I watched the second of four Japanese ghost stories.

The Woman in the Snow

another female ghostie

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Screenplay: Yôko Mizuki
Based on book by: Lafcadio Hearn

Description from the amazon:
Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman. She spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her. A decade later he forgets his promise. (duh-duh-dum-dumb)

My thoughts:
In a word: brrrrr

Actually the woman in the snow was a ghost, goddess, vampire combo. She drained one victim of blood (like a vampire) before disappearing into the snow (like a ghost). She spares another's life because he is "young" and "pretty" (human-like feelings). Then later turns herself into human form to be with the young man (goddess-like powers).

Woman in the snow says:
I intended to treat you like the other man. But I cannot help feeling some pity for you, -- because you are so young... You are a pretty boy, Minokichi; and I will not hurt you now. But, if you ever tell anybody -- even your own mother -- about what you have seen this night, I shall know it; and then I will kill you... Remember what I say!

You know the man is doomed. Because being human, it is inevitable that the promise would one day be broken. Why do gods toy with humans so?

I liked the snippets of a woodcutter's life in this story. From preparing meals to making sandals, it is portrayed as a simple one but rich with love - for awhile at least.

I wanted to mention that the Criterion Collection film version is colorized. The colors are amazing and add so much to the story. I originally saw this in black and white and some of the scenes didn't come across as effectively.

Kaidan tales includes:
Black Hair - my review
Woman in the Snow
Hoichi, the Earless - my review
In A Cup Of Tea - my review

Blogosphere bits:

Wikipedia says:
Yuki Onna (snow woman) is a spirit or yōkai in Japanese folklore. She is a popular figure in Japanese animation, manga, and literature. Yuki-onna is sometimes confused with Yama-uba ("mountain crone"), but they are not the same.


Some legends say the Yuki-onna, being associated with winter and snowstorms, is the spirit of someone who perished in the snow. She is at the same time beautiful and serene, yet ruthless in killing unsuspecting mortals. Until the 18th century, she was almost uniformly portrayed as evil. Today, however, stories often color her as more human, emphasizing her ghost-like nature and ephemeral beauty.


What Yuki-onna is after varies from tale to tale. Sometimes she is simply satisfied to see a victim die. Other times, she is more vampiric, draining her victims' blood or "life force." She occasionally takes on a succubus-like manner, preying on weak-willed men to drain or freeze them through sex or a kiss.

*part of my Hello Japan! challenge

*part of my Helluva Halloween challenge

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu