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Takashi Miike returning to horror with his take on Japanese ghost story Yotsuya Kaidan

May. 20, 2013by: Kevin Woods

For fans of unnerving and gore-laced Japanese cinema there is no name bigger than Takashi Miike. Now we have word that the AUDITION and ICHI THE KILLER director is making his way back to the horror genre with an as of yet to be titled new film focusing on one of Japan's most famous ghost stories, Yotsuya Kaidan.

The often-filmed legend of Yotsuya Kaidan is a tale of betrayal, murder and ghostly revenge tells the story of Oiwa and Tamiya Iemon and has been adapted for film over 30 times and has inspired countless other films. Miike's take will find the superstar director helming from a screenplay by Kikumi Yamagishi (HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI). Nobuyasu Kita (13 ASSASSINS) rejoins Miike behind the camera as cinematographer with Toshiaki Nakazawa (DEPARTURE) producing. Production designer Yuji Hayashida and composer Koji Endo have also joined the crew. Celluloid Dreams/uConnect, the sales division of uMedia, has acquired the international rights for the project in Cannes.

Miike’s untitled project blurs the line between reality and nightmare when an actor named Kosuke plays the lead role of “Iemon” (Ebizo Ichikawa; Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai) in a staged play of Yotsuya Kaiden. His lover Miyuki joins him on stage to play “Oiwa” (Hideaki Ito; Sukiyaki Western Django, Lesson of the Evil), but as they become engrossed in the performances, their personal life begins to disintegrate and their love, hate, and grudge for each other takes over. As the two worlds begin to meld, they are thrown into their own hell with the play beginning to horrifyingly unfold in real life.”

Recognized in many contemporary representations including THE RING franchise, the evil spirit Oiwa appears in her white burial gown, straggled hair, and drooping eye from when she was maimed by poison. Originally presented on stage in the early 1800s, Yotsuya Kaidan has been remade and reconfigured many times, but the origins remain the most powerful and terrifying image to audiences, that of a chilling ghost able to span hell and earth to exact revenge on her murderers.

We'll keep you posted on Miike's latest, including the title when it's announced, as it comes our way.

Extra Tidbit: What is your favorite Miike film?

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