Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 27th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Japan, 1970
Director: Teruo Ishii
Cast: Meiko Kaji, Toru Abe, Makoto Sato, Hideo Sunazuka, Yoshi Kato
DVD released: May 8th, 2007
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Discotek
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: During a battle with a rival clan Akemi Tachibana (Meiko Kaji) accidentally blinds Aiko Gouda (Hoki Tokuda) when the blade of her sword cuts her eyes. At that moment a black cat appears out of nowhere and laps up Aiko’s blood. Akemi believes that cat and drinking of the blood mean that she is now forever cursed. Years later a mysterious blind woman arrives in town and shortly there after those close to Akemi are murdered. Is Akemi really cursed or is this blind woman behind these devious acts against Akemi’s clan?
Blind Woman’s Curse was made during director Teruo Ishii’s most futile period as a filmmaker. During this time he would start to infuse his unique style of grotesque imagery with more erotic based story lines. His film Horror of a Malformed Man made the previous year in 1969 is his defining statement as a filmmaker and he would continue to explore similar type themes throughout the rest of his career. Direction wise Blind Woman’s Curse is a visually candy store of carnage. Every moment is beautifully paced and every frame is stylish exploited with bizarre imagery. The films use of macabre with in the subtext of a Yakuza theme is flawless as the two genres are almost perfect mirror images of each other.
During this time in his career another thing that strong in virtually all of Teruo Ishii’s films is the acting. The star of the film is Meiko Kaji in her first major role as this film’s protagonist Akemi Tachibana. Kaji even at this point in her career had already begun to develop the traits we would later identify with her in such films like the Lady Snow Blood and Female Scorpion series. One to be outdone or overlooked is actress Hoki Tokuda who plays the blind swordswoman’s named Aiko Gouda. I was most impressed with Gouda’s performance which I feel is the strongest in the film. The film also injects a fare amount of comic relief with most of it coming from actors Makoto Satô (The Executioner, The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno) and Ryohei Uchida (Yakuza Deka: The Assassin, Yakuza Deka).
All great films besides having a solid cast and direction also have a memorable score. The score for Blind Woman’s Curse was composed by Hajime Kaburagi who other notable scores include Tokyo Drifter, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter and Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701′s Grudge Song. Another key collaborator on Blind Woman’s Curse was screenwriter Chûsei Sone who would go onto direct several of Nikkatsu’s well regarded Pinku films like Naked Rashomon, Angel Guts: High School Coed and Angel Guts: Red Classroom. The horror elements in Blind Woman’s Curse are well done as the baroque images and set pieces look creepy and make the viewer feel uneasy. The films finale will leave you breathless as Akemi and Aiko dual under a storm filled sky with dust building up all around them. Ultimately Blind Woman’s Curse is one of the best examples of Pinky Horror.
Blind Woman’s Curse is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original ‘scope’ aspect ratio. The image is simply stunning with blood vivid colors and razor sharp detail in every inch frame of this transfer. The source material is flawless and the final product looks exceptional. This is without a doubt the best transfer from Discotek Media to date.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese. The audio is also in great shape with no major audio defects and dialog is clear and music and effects sound encompassing. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include text about the film, a extensive photo gallery, filmographies for Teruo Ishii & Meiko Kaji and trailers for Blind Woman’s Curse, Zero Woman Red Handcuffs, Ebola Syndrome and Sars Wars. The main extra for this release is another thorough audio commentary from author Chris D. who gives plenty of background info about the cast, crew and the production as well as injecting his thoughts about what is going on the screen. My only complaint about the commentary is that several things he says are also covered in the text write up he wrote for the film. Overall Discotek Media release one of more sought after Teruo Ishii titles not yet given a DVD release tell now. And they give it the four star treatment with a first class audio/video presentation and an assortment of insightful extras, highly recommended.