Yokai Monsters of 1968

Over at the Britannica Blog Raymond Benson continues to count down his Top 10 Favorite Films from 1968. If you enjoy ’60s era cinema please feel free to stop by and join in the ongoing discussions about each film. Narrowing my list of favorite films from 1968 down to a mere 10 would be almost impossible for me so I admire Raymond Benson’s efforts.

Last week I promised that I’d devote the next few weeks to some of my own favorite films from 1968. Unfortunately various obligations continue to get in the way of my writing but today I thought I’d share some thoughts about two of my favorite Japanese monster movies made in 1968, 100 Monsters aka Yôkai hyaku monogatari and Yokai Monsters – Spook Warfare aka Yôkai daisensô. Both films were released the same year and a third Yokai Monster film called Yokai Monsters – Along With Ghosts aka Tôkaidô obake dôchû was later released in 1969. All three films make up an extremely entertaining trilogy of fantasy films based on Japanese folklore and legends.

Yokai (or Yōkai) are a type of Japanese ghost, demon or monster with supernatural powers. They can be fun loving and mischievous or downright evil. In the 1960s the renowned manga artist Shigeru Mizuki modernized many Japanese folktales in his comic book series Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro and in the process he introduced a new generation of Japanese youth to the wonderful world of the Yokai Monsters. At the time many Japanese were rediscovering their heritage and history following the aftermath of WWII and Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro became extremely popular with Japanese children and adults. The popularity of Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro led to a wider interest in Japanese folklore and the Daiei Motion Picture Company took this opportunity to create a series of films based on classic Yokai Monster tales.

Continue reading “The Yokai Monsters of 1968” at Cinebeats.