Arrow Video’s Blind Woman’s Curse (also known as Black Cat’s Revenge) is a thrilling Horror / Yakuza film starring the gorgeous Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock), in her first major role.
Akemi (Kaji) is a dragon tattooed leader of the Tachibana clan. In a duel with a rival gang, Akemi slashes the eyes of an opponent and a black cat appears, to lap the blood from the gushing wound. The cat along with the victim goes on to pursue Akemi s gang in revenge, leaving a trail of dead Yakuza gang members, their dragon tattoos skinned from their bodies.
Blind Woman’s Curse is one of the strangest Japanese films I have seen in a while. It features the usual tattoo covered gangsters but also includes a dancing hunchback assassin and lots of grotesque imagery. It starts off as a standard Yakuza revenge drama but slowly turns on the horror element with victims skinned and bloody deaths by sword, quite explicit for 1970.
Meiko Kaji certainly has great screen charisma with mesmerising eyes and you can see why she went on to become an exploitation film star in Japan. Go into this film with an open mind and be ready for a bizarre mix of action and horror which only Japan could produce.
The Blu ray has been transferred very well by Arrow with a high bit-rate, the 1080p picture can look a little soft in places but I think that is common with films from Japan of this period. Colours are rich and grain is intact, overall a very pleasing presentation. Audio is the original Japanese language PCM Mono, it is a little flat at times but does not spoil the listening experience. Subtitles are very good and easy to follow.
Extras are a little light for an Arrow release but are very good all the same. First is an excellent audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp. He gives out a lot of information about the film, its stars and Japanese cinema in general, you would gain a lot from listening to it. As well as the original trailer, you also get 4 trailers from the Stray Cat Rock series, made at the same studio. Also included is a great Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes, illustrated with original archive stills.
A strange movie but a welcome release from Arrow lets hope they continue to release more cult films from Asia.
FILM: 6.5 PICTURE: 8 SOUND: 5 EXTRAS: 7