Yokai Monsters: Along With Ghosts (Japan 1969)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/13/13

Another attempt to bring the Yokai Monsters back to the big screen, but it ends up being a generic samurai film instead. A band of gangsters ambushes a man with an incriminating document and kills another old man nearby. The dying mans warns them of the curse of Onizuka and the incriminating document flies away. The old man's seven year old granddaughter also witnesses the crime and spends the entire film running away from the bad guys. Along the way, she meets up with a kind ronin who promises to help her, but the bad guys want him dead as well. After an hour of standard samurai and yakuza drama, the Onizuka curse finally manifests itself by making the bad guys insane. Once again, the film ends with a monster jam of various creatures popping up in the forest and dancing in slow motion.

Overall, the story is pretty decent and the relationship between the ronin and the little girl is emotionally resonant. It also helps that the little girl is totally adorable. There are some silly comedic bits thrown in that are out of place and don't belong, but I suspect they have some sort of pop culture bearing. Ironically, the biggest piece that doesn't fit is the ghost angle, which just seems tacked on at the end as a way to resolve the plot. It's unfortunate that the monsters aren't given a larger and more meaningful role.