Hollywood Gothique
LA Cinema Gothique

Kwaidan – The Long Black Hair of Death

Ever wonder where all those Japanese female ghosts with long black hair got their start?

Long before RING, THE GRUDGE, ONE MISSED CALL, DARK WATER and all the rest, there was KWAIDAN, a 1964 anthology film that included an episode called “Black Hair” about a samurai, who abandons his wife and returns years later, only to find that she is no longer one of the living: he wakes up the next morning beside a skeleton, with her long black hair entangling him; he struggles to get free, but…

I’m sure the ghostly manifestation is based on some old legend that pre-existed KWAIDAN, but as far as I can tell this is its first appearance on film, and it deserves some credit for foreshadowing all those ghoulish girl ghost who continue to haunt screens to this day. The movie itself is highly over-rated: embalmed by its own beauty, it’s great to look at, but slow as a paralyzed victim unable to escape an approaching mummy.

The movie is screening tonight at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at 7:30pm. The address is 5905 Wilshire Blvd. You can call 877-522-6225 for ticket sales.

If you’re a fan of J-Horror, you might want to check it out. Despite the slow pacing, the film’s strength is its production design, which looks great on a big theatre screen.