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This black and white Japanese tale of snakes and witches is rooted in the evils of humankind rather than the supernatural.

A young orphan girl is reunited with her birth family but finds out her sister has an evil side. Let’s dig into 1968’s THE SNAKE GIRL AND THE SILVER-HAIRED WITCH, directed by Noriaki Yuasa!

As I See It

Released just a few years before Daiei Films would declare bankruptcy and go through an acquisition, this black and white Japanese horror is as strong a fright film as you’ll find from this era, regardless of country of origin.

Tons of brilliant imaginations can dream up iconic monsters. Still, there is a deeper depth of terror when films base their boogeymen (or Women) on intrinsic mythology that has seeped into the culture for generations.

A variation of a Kijo – Onibaba tale, it does come back to earth by the end, but the climax is filled with action.

The story is of a young orphan girl whose birth parents find her. She comes home to find out she has an evil sister who morphs into a snake.

The natural horror elements are done well, save for the floating tarantula scene. It probably will seem janky to most, but I liked the dream scenes whenever something supernatural started happening.

The biggest letdown is that this is in black and white, and the beauty of the reptiles doesn’t translate — especially the krait that Tamami mentions as being the most venomous in the collection.

Famous Faces

This was the studio known for everything from Kurosawa films to the Gamera films. Director Noriaki Yuasa directed many of them, so it’s no surprise they enlisted him to handle this film.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Yes, it’s a sign of the era and culture, but the whole story rests on the fact that it’s ONLY happening because the father is away.

Heartthrob

I love all the masks in the film, and there are some obviously African-inspired pieces as well. The silver-haired witch mask is the winner, though.

Ripe for a Remake

I would love to see it. The more theatrical, the better. This could probably translate to a stage play very easily, and that’s the same style I would love to see on film.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

Arrow Video released a Blu-Ray. You can stream on Shudder, AMC+, and Arrow’s platform.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2.5


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