While clan warfare rages in medieval Japan, an old woman (Otowa) and her daughter-in-law (Yoshimura) eke out a living by murdering lost soldiers for their armor, then heaving the bodies in a deep, dark hole. But when a macho farmer (Kei Sato) returns from war and threatens to usurp her dead son's wife, the old woman wages a campaign of terror to keep them apart.
Creepy, compelling, and filled with eerie visual wonders, Shindo's "Onibaba" is a supernatural folk tale about jealousy and moral retribution, flavored with a pungent dose of Freudian sexual hysteria. Kei Sato is brilliant playing the animalistic, sexually voracious neighbor, and Yoshimura conveys exquisite yearning as the young widow running wildly through the reeds each night to be at his side. Otowa's fateful donning of a demonic mask — the coup de resistance of her scheme to drive them apart — is itself magical and horrifying. Don't miss "Onibaba."