1964, Janus Films, 103 min. Dir. Kaneto Shindô
In this chilling Japanese folk tale, a poverty-stricken mother and daughter-in-law make a meager living killing off samurai and selling their belongings. When a neighbor returns from war and becomes a part of their lives, they find themselves joined in a fate as horrific as it is beautiful.
Cited by William Freidkin as his primary influence for The Exorcist, ONIBABA, along with the rest of Shindo’s work, was well ahead of its time and grossly overlooked, both upon release and today. In Japanese with English subtitles.