Cover image for Onibaba
Shindō, Kaneto, 1912-2012.
[DVD version].
Publication Information:
[United States] : Homevision, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 videodisc (103 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in.
An impoverished mother and her daughter-in-law eke out a lonely, desperate existence. In order to survive in feudal Japan, they are forced to murder lost samurai and sell their belongings for grain, then they dump their corpses down a deep, dark hole.
General Note:
Title from container.

Videodisc release of the 1964 Japanese motion picture.

Series from container.

Special features: new video interview with writer/director Kaneto Shindo, rare footage provided by actor Kei Sato, shot on location during the filing of Onibaba, original trailer, stills gallery featuring production sketches and promotional art, new essay by Chuck Stephens, filmmakers statement from Kaneto Shino, rare English translation of the original Buddhist fable that inspired the film.

For specific features see interactive menu.
Reading Level:
MPAA rating: Not rated.
Geographic Term:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 7580 Adult DVD Foreign Language
DVD 7580 Adult DVD Media Room-Foreign Language Video
DVD 7580 Adult DVD Foreign Language

On Order



A landmark in fantasy cinema, this lyrical ghost story is set in medieval Japan amid a bloody conflict between rival fiefdoms. While the warrior Kichi's impoverished wife (Jitsuko Yoshimura) and mother (Nobuko Otowa) wait for his return from battle, they maintain a humble existence by luring lost soldiers into the surrounding fields of tall grass and murdering them in order to sell their armor and weapons for food; the bodies are then disposed of in a deep cavern. After learning that her son has been killed in battle, Otowa begins to concoct a scheme to frighten her daughter-in-law into staying at home with her indefinitely. After killing a soldier clad in a hideous demon mask -- which hides his grotesque, scarred face -- the mother dons the mask and succeeds in frightening Yoshimura away from her new lover's house. To her own horror, the mother quickly discovers that the mask is now securely stuck to her face, and her attempts to remove it culminate in the greatest horror of all. Fraught with sexual tension, nefarious schemes, and Freudian symbolism, this compelling masterpiece, by turns hypnotically beautiful and shockingly brutal, represents the finest in horror filmmaking, driven by powerful imagery and aided by sumptuous black-and-white photography. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Shindo's 1964 Onibaba is a dark, tense, and cinematically gripping sojourn into a fantastical but psychologically resonant world where erotic impulses and ruthless imperatives of self-preservation dominate human action. By transposing it to war-ravaged medieval Japan and brazenly saturating it with sexuality, Shindo has transformed a cautionary Buddhist parable into a harrowing and uncanny tale of disastrously colliding compulsions. Awaiting the return of her husband, a young woman and her mother-in-law survive by killing and then selling the equipment of weakened and disoriented warriors who stray into the vicinity of their hut. When a neighbor, one of the husband's companions in battle, returns, a calamitous struggle ensues in which jealous rage and sexual frenzy inexorably lead to a memorably lurid conclusion. The picture and sound quality are superb; disc extras include an illuminating interview with Shindo and on-location footage. For mature audiences. Highly recommended for academic and larger collections.-Rob Sica, Eastern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Richmond (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.