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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Teruo IshiiTeruo Ishii

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

After a bitter battle leaves a bystander blinded, her search for vengeance leads a trail of the dead. Enriched with Japanese culture and mythology, BLIND WOMAN'S CURSE is the atonement of 70’s Japanese cinema.

Starring Meiko Kaji in her first major role, she holds no punches as the leader of the Tachibana yakuza clan who’s numbers begin to drop after vicious rivalry with another gang. The actions of which seem to hide a more sinister motive. Akemi (Kaji) is the true girl with the dragon tattoo as she slices her way through revenge for those who have reduced her clan to nothing and when the shocking truth behind her rival’s identity is revealed, the blind woman’s curse is finally released.

The rivalry between searcher and seeker is so charismatically attractive it’s hard to pick a side as both Kaji and Hoki Tokuda (Aiko) bring life to two troubled souls and victims of the yakuza lifestyle.

Not redundant in humour, scenes of cats licking flesh cut from the backs of warriors and a flow of none stop action that makes the 90 minute running time fly past. In parts, it is a harrowing thriller that has iconic scene after another, the hunchback in the museum of “wax” models, the deaths of the yakuza are far from boring and enough blood in the final chapter to give HATCHET a run for its money. While it may show its date with special effects, it still holds its power in storytelling and action.

A blend of superior martial arts and supernatural horror, this is a pure slice of cult cinema that Arrow have managed to add to a celebrated roster of films from the bad (HELLGATE) to the supreme (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, SPIDER BABY). Blind Woman’s Curse may be redundant in the famous special features department but the research and effort that have gone into the packaged book and artwork by Gilles Vranckx, that make this a pride of place in any collection.

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