Monday, May 15, 2017

A GREAT TOHO DOUBLE FEATURE! Returning to the Laputa Asagaya!

Poster art for The Vampire Doll on display at the  Laputa Asagaya. Photo by Brett Homenick.

As you've probably surmised by now, I returned to the Laputa Asagaya tonight for yet another evening of Toho films. One was quite familiar to me, but the other was completely new.

Promotional material for Toho's Pigs and Goldfish. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The first film I saw was Pigs and Goldfish (1962), a light Toho comedy with some romance mixed in. The film stars Ken Uehara in a rare (at least for me) comedic turn. I mostly know him from his stoic performances in Mothra (1961), Gorath (1962), and Atragon (1963) in which he oozes authority. But here he plays things largely for laughs, even getting water tossed on him (off-camera) several times. The movie also stars Akiko Wakabayashi, who is absolutely radiant here. She is given quite a bit to do, and she runs with it. To top it all off, there are literal pigs and goldfish in the movie, too. A goldfish gets eaten by a sneaky black cat (off-camera), and a pig becomes a rock star (well, sort of). How does it all unfold? See the movie to find out!

Promotional material for Toho's The Vampire Doll. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Next up was The Vampire Doll (1970), a Toho horror film that I'd imagine most readers here are rather familiar with. As "luck" would have it, I actually watched a subtitled copy of this film just a few weeks ago. Still, even having just seen the movie, I enjoyed it immensely on the big screen -- a first for me.

The Vampire Doll is an all-around excellent horror film, right down to Riichiro Manabe's score that the New York Times called "stately" in its review. Can't argue with that. Yukiko Kobayashi is also downright chilling as the vampire. Great stuff to see on a rainy night. (Unfortunately for me, the weather was perfect. Oh, well.)

All in all, it was a very enjoyable night. I will almost certainly return next week. Stay tuned!

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