Kawaii Akuma (1982)

When a young girl named Ryoko traveled to Europa to study music, her lover was killed in a traffic accident. However, she believes that her psychic powers are what killed him and no one believes her, which sends her to an asylum. As she recovers, she is placed into the care of her brother-in-law Kouji and eventually becomes the governess for his daughter Alice.

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi is best known for Hausu in America, but he made plenty of movies, including this 1982 made-for-TV movie, which is just as surreal and wonderfully strange as his most famous film.

I mean, how can you not love a movie that has a wedding end with the bride doing the Oliver Reed Burnt Offerings leap out a window? I’ve seen folks refer to this as Ôbayashi’s take on The Bad Seed and that works for me. It’s a kid with too many powers being watched by a woman who has had too many horrible things happen in her life, now with no grip on reality.

So many matte paintings, plus ghosts wandering the night, people being set ablaze, tons of broken glass and a really gothic feel — dare I say it’s a Japanese Kill, Baby, Kill! — that hits everything I love in film and then just takes it all up to another level.

You can translate the title as Cute Devil or Lovely Devils. Either way, this is a movie worth tracking down.

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