This incredibly odd Japanese horror feature (1977) is like a Hello Kitty backpack stuffed with bloody human viscera. The insufferably cute and campy opening scenes involve a schoolgirl who invites six gal pals to accompany her on a visit to her aunt’s mansion in a dark wood. Once these mugging, irrepressibly sunny heroines have arrived, all hell breaks loose: one girl is decapitated, another watches her face shatter like a mirror, a third has her fingers bitten off by a piano keyboard. Director Nobuhiko Obayashi, making his feature debut after a career in commercials and experimental films, loads the movie down with visual effects both familiar (zooms, wipes, irises) and novel, for the era (some striking video animation). There’s never a dull moment, though I certainly felt dulled by the time it was over. In Japanese with subtitles.
1 hour 28 min • 1977