If a picture paints a thousand words, I'd need a million words to describe Kwaidan.
Totally unlike anything I'd ever seen and so different from many Japanese films, I absorbed all four stories, 3 hours worth in one sitting. Mesmerised, intoxicated.
Like a series of the most lavish theatrical sets and the most imaginative theatrical direction and using theatrical lighting, paintings as huge as skies are backdrops. Vivid, muted. Both.
The stories themselves have been described by other reviewers - suffice to say, I preferred the 2nd to the generally more popular 3rd. They were all so different, in approach, style and culmination, yet were consistent in their stillness; a stillness that crept up on you and just when you least expected it, the unexpected and those scared me stiff.
The music was sparse but chillingly suited, using traditional, acoustic instruments, superbly. They conveyed a huge range of moods and sound effects. I knew nothing of Japanese folklore, aside of Kurosawa's samurai films - I believe now that I still probably don't but that there's a feast more out there, waiting for me.
I'm still trembling with slight excitement and numbness after seeing something that I'll never forget and now wish to lend this excellent DVD to every single friend I know!