Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters (1968)

Daiei could produce a masterpiece like Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon while still putting out movies that featured Gamera, Zatoichi, Daimajin and the Yokai Monsters, who are based on the monsters of Japanese folklore. They may be evil creatures who cause great misfortune and harm or — quite the opposite — could  also be beings that bring good fortune to those who meet them.

Much like the aforementioned films like Gamera and Daimajin, this is a tokusatsu film that uses practical effects, including actors in costumes, puppets and animation to tell the story.

That story is really about a rich landowner, who wants to tear down a local shrine to build a brothel. He cheaps out and after telling the stories of the yokai, neglects to pay for the ceremony to keep them out. They soon go wild in the town, partying down as they arrive with sake.

Known in Japan as Yokai Hyaku Monogatari, this was directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda, who made six of the Zatoichi movies. It suffers the sin of some Godzilla movies, in that we don’t really care about the humans. We just want the monsters. And we’ve been promised a hundred of them!

The following film, Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare, came out the same year and realizes this issue and instead fills nearly every moment of the movie with monster after monster. This is good. That movie is great.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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