Kaibyo Yonaki Numa (1957)

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Katsuhiko Tazaka directed this last of three haunting horror films starring Takako Irie as a beautiful woman who transforms into a ghostly cat-creature known as a "kaibyo" in order to seek revenge. Tazaka's film also includes the first screen appearance of future samurai star Shintaro Katsu. The ghost-cat is a legendary figure in Japan and the series was quite popular in the 1960s, reaching its height with Kaneto Shindo's Kuroneko (1968), but it lost momentum for several years after the release of this film. Occasional efforts such as Kaibyo Otama-ga-ike (1960) were ineffective without the powerful screen presence of Irie, who acted in dozens of films from the 1920s until the '80s.

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cat, ghost, revenge, shapeshifter, supernatural-powers, transformation