Kaneto Shindo, “Onibaba”: Film History Series


Kaneto Shindo, “Onibaba (Demon Hag)”, 1964, Cinematogapher Kiyomi Kuroda

“Onibaba” is a 1964 Japanese historical drama horror film written and directed by Kaneto Shindo. The story was inspired by the Shin Buddhist parable of “yome-odoshi-no men”, in which a mother used a mask to scare her daughter from going to the temple. The mother was punished by the mask sticking to her face. After begging to remove it, she was able to take it off, but the flesh of her face came with it.

Kaneto Shindo wanted to film “Onibaba” in a field of suski grass. A location was found at inna-Numa in Chiba. Filming started on June 30, 1964 and continued for three months. Some of the sequences were shot in slow-motion. Background and title music consists of Taiko drumming combined with jazz.

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