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Hebi Musume to Hakuhatsuma

The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch

Japan 1968
produced by
Kazumasa Nakano, Masaichi Nagata (executive) for Daiei
directed by Noriaki Yuasa
starring Yachie Matsui, Mayumi Takahashi, Sachiko Meguro, Yuko Hamada, Sei Hiraizumi, Yoshiuro Kitahara, Saburo Ishiguro, Kuniko Miyake, Tadashi Date, Mariko Fukuhara, Osamu Maruyama, Tomomi Takahashi, Kazuke Umezu
story by Kazuo Kozu, screenplay by Kimiyuki Hasegawa, based on the manga by Kazuo Umezu, music by Shunsuke Kikuchi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Young Sayuri (Yashie Matsui) has spent her early years in an orphanage before she's picked up by father (Yoshiro Kitahara), who has only recently managed to track her down - and naturally, Sayuri couldn't be happier. But after one happy evening with her new, real family, father is called away for work, and she's left behind with her mother (Yuko Hamada), who nice as she is seems to be a little off at times, strict housekeeper Shige (Sachiko Meguro), and tons of poisonous snakes dad keeps in his lab for professional reasons - snakes that give Sayuri nightmares. And Sayuri can also not shake the feeling that someone's in the house with them - and eventually, mum admits it's true, as her sister Tamami (Mayumi Takahashi), whose face is disfigured and whose back is covered in snake scales. At first, Sayuri's happy to have a sister who's roughly her age, and is more than happy to share her room and bed with her, but it soon becomes clear that Tamami doesn't like her one bit, and has some sort of contrtol over mum - so much so that Tamami eventually has Sayuri banned to the attic where she's locked in. Now that's bad, but worse is that up there, Sayuri is haunted by a white-haired witch, who might just be a character in her nightmares but also might be real, so much so that Sayuri eventually escapes through an attic window and makes it back to her orphanage, where the director of the orphanage (Osamu Maruyama) tells her that Tamami isn't even the real offspring of her parents but the babies were exchanged after birth and that Tamami has had mental problems because of her disfigurement, and Sayuri's mum has been in a confused state of mind ever since. The director promises to take care of everything, but before she can she's brutally murdered, and now it's up to Sayuri and her best friend from orphanage Tatsuya (Sei Hiraizumi) to set things right again - but with a girl who might be a snake, and a silver-haired witch, do they even know what they're facing?


A welcomely weird mix of kiddie shocker, violent thriller, and fantasy, with some surreal elements thrown in - and the outcome is actually pretty charming, with fun monsters, a good dose of jump scares, all bedded in a properly haunting atmospheric directorial effort. Now sure, the film isn't cliché-free, and some of the twists and turns might be more on the predictable side than intended, but that said, it's a really entertaining piece of exotic horror. No classic in the traditional sense of the word maybe, but fun for sure.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD