Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: Jigoku
Japan, 1960. Shintoho Film Distribution Committee. Screenplay by Nobuo Nakagawa, Ichiro Miyagawa. Cinematography by Mamoru Morita. Produced by Mitsugu Okura. Music by Michiaki Watanabe. Production Design by Shosuke Sasane. Film Editing by Toshio Goto.
The punishment of hell becomes a genuine reality in this creative horror-drama. After attending a lecture on the infernal fires as interpreted through various religions, a graduate student is out with his best friend when they accidentally hit a drunk man with their car. The shady friend being in the drivers’ seat, they take off and leave the victim for dead, inspiring a desire for revenge in his surviving family that puts our hero into a downward spiral for the rest of the film. Of course, it doesn’t help that he had no idea that his badass buddy is actually a demon in human form. The visuals get wonderfully kinky by the time you get to the big set pieces at the end, when we actually enter the realm of the inferno itself, and although the characterizations aren’t quite strong enough to meet up with the power of the visuals, it is a memorable and highly original piece that is worth checking out as a curiosity if nothing else.