“You’ll… definitely be… cursed… a frightening… curse…
Japanese gangsters (Yakuza) attack a rival group to get some incriminating evidence on a local Oyabun (leader of a crime syndicate). They are warned by a local Onizuka (shrine guardian) that they are in a holy place and should not spill blood, especially on a holy night when all the spirits are gathered. To do so would bring down evil on them. The Onizuka is Jinbei (Bokuzen Hidari). He is mortally wounded by the gangsters. The head gangster realizes that he dropped the paper with the incriminating evidence on it so they go back to the shrine.
A young girl of seven, Miyo (Masami Burukido) finds the evidence that the Yakuza dropped. On seeing the Yakuza she drops the paper and runs home. When she gets there she finds that her grandfather has been hurt. Her grandfather is the shrine guardian Jinbei. Knowing that he is dying he gives Miyo a pair of special dice and tells her that she must go to the city to an inn called Yui. She must find the owner Horitasu. At the inn should be a man named Touhachi. He is her father.
On the road alone Miyo is wary, being pursued by the Yakuza. She meets a boy who is kind and willing to take her to the inn but the Yakuza are right behind her and she runs away. She then meets a good hearted Yakuza who becomes her protector. Still all the while the bad Yakuza are not far behind, and the Yokai are not far behind the Yakuza.
Eventually she is captured by the Yakuza and finds her father. She is then forced to play a life or death game of dice with the vicious Daimyo (feudal lord). If she looses, it will cost her father his life. The Daimyo will force her to play until she looses, but the dice have other plans.
“Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts” was released in 1969 and is the third of the Yokai Monster trilogy. This movie is a combo platter. Part Yokai movie, part Japanese gangster movie and part ghost story. One of the special touches added to this movie is the introduction of a Theremin.
In viewing all three movies there are some aspects of each that are on the eerie side. In an off-beat way they remind me a little of movies such as “The Dark Crystal” or “The NeverEnding Story” only in Japanese with unusual English subtitles. They are certainly worth a look if you like fantasy films.
There are very few Yokai in this movie, but a lot of ghosts. Most of the special effects are make-up and camera special effects. Not much in the way of puppets or ‘guys in suits’. Also, don’t expect to see the same Yokai as in the first two movies. This is definitely more of a spooky ghost story than a Japanese spirit story.
I think that I liked this movie the best of the three. The main story was interesting and the last part had some tense moments during the game and the reason for the dice. The ghosts weren’t near as silly as in “Spook Warfare” and the story was more serious and easier to follow than “100 Monsters”. It’s not the favorite of most people but I enjoyed it.
The trilogy itself wasn’t a normal trilogy. The stories didn’t all relate to each other. Some of the Yokai were in the first two movies but not in the third. They weren’t so much sequels as there were an anthology. Three spooky stories that contained Japanese mythical spirits. Each one can be watched independently of the others and in any order.