(Yabu no naka no Kuroneko, or, Black Cat, 1968) Two female spirits get time off from hell to right a wrong that led to their death. Janus Films goes hand-in-hand with Criterion for theatrical release of older films, and writer-director Kaneto Shindô’s Japanese period piece “Kuroneko” is more than a footnote, an engaging revenge tale chock full of kinetic and lurid bits of samurai thrillers and ghost stories. (Shindo also directed the 1964 horror chiller “Onibaba.”) The black-and-white CinemaScope cinematography is arty and suitably spectral as the feline spirits stalk the earth. A worthy follow-up to the recent release of the wonderfully weird “Hausu” (House). With Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kiwako Taichi, Kei Sato, Taiji Tonoyama. 99m. New 35mm widescreen print; “Kuroneko” has never been on U.S. home video. (Ray Pride)
“Kuroneko” opens Friday at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.