Sunday, June 29, 2014
THE LIVING SKELETON (1968) movie review
Living Skeleton, The (1968) d. Hiroshi Matsuno (Japan)
After robbing and murdering the passengers and crew of the Dragon King, a gang of crooks disappear with the loot, abandoning the ship to the tides. Three years later, young and beautiful Saeko (Kikko Matsuoka) is discovered still mourning the death of her twin sister, Yoriko, as she lives in a convent-type setting under the care of kindly priest Akashi (Masumi Okada) whilst secretly canoodling with seaside café owner Mochizuki (Yasunori Irikawa). A scuba-diving date reveals the Dragon King’s victims’ remains, with the haunted craft appearing on the foggy ocean surface. Boarding the boat, Saeko comes face-to-face with the ghost of Yoriko; soon after, the various thugs who perpetrated the start coming to untimely ends, with Saeko/Yoriko’s vengeful visage never far away.
Rife with dual identities, double-crosses, patently fake bats and miniatures, and surprising black-and-white gore set-pieces, this horror/noir tale’s energy never flags, and while the title is a bit misleading, the titular boney beasties’ enthusiastically designed death-grins should bring a smile to any horror fan’s face.