(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 history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.