Welcome back, Boils & Ghouls...
... to 'Day Twelve' of "Another CreatureFeature Guide To Hallowe'en On Roku" and to the second instalment of my "Shocking Sunday Surprise" in which I aim to share a random selection of things, all somehow connected to Hallowe'en, and that can be used with the Roku streaming media player !!
As I mentioned last week, these offerings could vary from film suggestions to details of Roku channels (both public and private) or any number of other Hallowe'en / Horror-themed goodies to get you into the "spirit" of things. The general idea is that, unlike the other "themed" days featured in this blogathon, you never know quite what you're going to get as your "Shocking Sunday Surprise" each week, so be sure to visit this blog EVERY SUNDAY between now and October 31st for some spooktacular treats to put even more on-screen scares into your Roku player(s) as you gear up for Hallowe'en !!
For my second "Shocking Sunday Surprise", I'm (again) going to suggest a movie that will keep you entertained over the next 24-hours while I compile my next post. The "shock", for some of you, will be that it is a foreign language movie and, therefore, "subtitled". The "surprise", for others, may be that it is shot entirely in 'monochrome', i.e. "black & white", which (believe it, or not) was actually the 'norm' at one time. Obviously... if you're one of those people who "don't do subtitles", or are likely to ask the question, "Why would I watch something in black & white when I have a colour TV?", then this is not going to be for you. In the meantime, for those of you that are open to such things and can appreciate a true foreign language classic, here's the Japanese movie poster for the film to whet your appetite:-
Directed by Kaneto Shindô, and starring Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô and Taiji Tonoyama plus Jûkichi Uno (amongst others), it tells the story of two women forced to eke out their meagre existence, in the swamps & grasslands of war-torn 14th century Japan, by ambushing worn-out warriors, killing them, and selling their belongings to a greedy merchant. When one of them starts wearing a facial mask, stolen from a slain samurai, she soon discovers it cannot be removed and, in this guise, she is "mistaken" for a demon... hence, the film title "Onibaba" or "Demon Woman" / "Demon Hag" (in English). First released in 1964... the film takes a female perspective, much like Shindô did with his later effort "Kuroneko" [aka "Black Cat"] from 1968, and tells this gripping story of horror & loneliness by focussing more on ambiance, location & setting rather than actual violence. Equally, it's the relationship between the two women and their collective need for love and attention, as well as their need to survive, which is central to the story. However, it is only when there is a rift in this relationship that we begin to see the beginnings of a terribly effective, not to mention atmospheric, horror film that the NY Times described as "...a witches' blend of terror and death" !! So, now that you're well & truly hooked on the plot, here's a visual taster of the film courtesy of the original theatrical trailer:-
If you'd like to know more there's a full list of the cast & credits on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) listing for "Onibaba", FOUND HERE, which also includes a full storyline / plot summary as well as box office stats, technical specs & much more. For die-hard fans, there are even more tidbits of information on the Wikipedia Page for "Onibaba", VIA THIS LINK, which may help to fuel your appetite for another screening. Although, as with the other horror films that I've featured recently, if you're already a big fan of this movie, you probably won't take too much persuading to watch it again !!
Anyway, probably the best recommendation I can make as to which of the available Roku channels you could use to watch this film is to suggest "YouTube" as your first port-of-call on account of the vast number of horror movies which, thanks to this channel and it's associated apps, are now readily available to stream via your Roku player(s) whenever you choose.
If you haven't already added it to your channel selection, you'll find "YouTube" listed among the "Internet TV" channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store and you can easily add it to your Roku player(s) by navigating to the built-in 'Channel Store' from the home screen and scrolling through the options until you see the (above) channel icon. It's completely FREE-TO-ADD as well as being FREE-TO-VIEW so, once you've located it in the list of channels, just click the "OK" button on your Roku remote to select it and then click "OK" again where it says 'Add channel' to install it on your Roku player(s). Having done that, it's simply a case of launching the channel via the 'Go to channel' option and navigating the on-screen menu to play "Onibaba" on your Roku which, for the record, runs to 1h 39mins and can be found via the following link:-
Meanwhile, for anyone interested, here's the cinema poster that movie-goers in 1964 / 1965 would have encountered at movie theatres in the french-speaking areas of Canada:-
Finally, to round-off this second "Shocking Sunday Surprise", on 'Day Twelve' of the ever-popular 'Countdown To Halloween', comes a few more FRIGHTENINGLY FUN FILM FACTS for you... for example, did you know that the story of "Onibaba" was inspired by the Shin Buddhist parable of 'Yome-Odoshe-No Men' (aka 'Bride-Scaring Mask')?! Or, that Kaneto Shindô said that the effects of the mask on those who wear it are symbolic of the disfigurement suffered by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with his film reflecting the traumatic effect of this visitation on post-war Japanese society... heavy stuff !! On a lighter note, the scenes of the older woman descending into the ground had to be shot using an artificial "hole", built above ground with scaffolding, since any real holes dug at the filming location would immediately fill up with water !! Also, from a UK perspective, the British Board of Film Censorship (BBFC) initially refused a certificate to "Onibaba" in 1965... but, having been resubmitted in 1968, it was finally "approved" and given an 'X' certificate, after several cuts were made to the original movie. Lastly, for fans of "The Exorcist" (1973), who may recall the scene which featured "subliminal" shots of a white-faced demon... you may be interested to learn that it was the 'demon mask' used in "Onibaba" which inspired William Friedkin to come up with the design for the make-up used on the 'white-faced demon' in that particular sequence of filming.
Anyway, that's it for today... but remember to visit us again in 24-hours for 'Day Thirteen' and more Horror / Hallowe'en-themed content, in "Another CreatureFeature Guide To Hallowe'en On Roku", when I will reveal the next Hallowe'en / Horror-related classic to feature in "Macabre Movie Monday", and then to come back (again) the same time next week for another "Shocking Sunday Surprise" as we continue our month-long blogathon in the "Countdown To Hallowe'en" 2014...
Fangs (as always) for reading !!