A band of roving samurai descends upon Yone (Otawa) and her daughter-in-law Shige (Taichi) in their home in a remote bamboo grove. The men brutally rape and murder the women, then casually depart, and a lone black cat licks the discarded corpses. A few years later in that same area, samurai begin turning up dead, one by one, horribly mutilated. Samurai leader Raiko (Satô) sends heroic warrior Gintoki (Nakamura) to investigate. Gintoki soon tracks down the perpetrators, but discovers a shocking truth: the murderers appear to be the ghosts of his own mother and wife, whom he left behind years ago when conscripted to join the army.
This creepy tale of cat vampire ghosts is mesmerizing, richly atmospheric, and stunningly beautiful, presenting themes of revenge and familial conflict in an amazing fusion of horror film, folk mythology, and Kabuki theater. As long-separated lovers, Nakamura and Taichi also heat up the screen with a sexy (but tasteful) tale of supernatural love. Celebrated director Shindô depicts the regimented world of the male samurai as boorish and predatory, which adds to the film's feminist point-of-view. Shot in stark black-and-white and featuring some lovely, haunting visual effects, this is one eerie film you shouldn't be afraid to watch.