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Yokai Monsters - Spook Warfare
Yokai Monsters - Spook Warfare
Actors: Yoshihiko Aoyama, Hideki Hanamura, Chikara Hashimoto, Hiromi Inoue, Mari Kanda
Director: Yoshiyuki Kuroda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Kids & Family, Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2003     1hr 19min

While storming the ruins of Babylonia, thieves unearth the ancient tomb of the wicked vampire demon Daimon. The demon flees to Japan, where he takes possession of Lord Isobe's soul and begins to feed on innocent townspeo...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Yoshihiko Aoyama, Hideki Hanamura, Chikara Hashimoto, Hiromi Inoue, Mari Kanda
Director: Yoshiyuki Kuroda
Creators: Hiroshi Imai, Toshio Taniguchi, Ahiko Murai, Masaichi Nagata, Yamato Yashiro, Tetsuro Yoshida
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Kids & Family, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Kids & Family, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Adv Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/20/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1968
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1968
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 19min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

SPOOK WARFARE: Bizarre, but entertaining!
STEPHEN W YANKOWICH | Plainfield, NJ United States | 06/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"ADV Films has done it again by bringing us yet another lost treasure... YOKAI MONSTERS: SPOOK WARFARE (A.K.A. GHOSTS ON PARADE)! Although Daiei's Gamera films got to be cheesy by this time, SPOOK WARFARE gives us chills and thrills!The demon Daimon is awakened after a four thousand year hibernation by treasure hunters in Babylonia and heads to Japan to start a campaign of world domination. "Good monsters" are summoned and team up to stop Daimon once and for all.The overall entertainment value of SPOOK WARFARE is excellent... You will not see naked babes screaming their heads off, but you will see a good amount blood and an abundance of monsters unlike anything you have ever seen! There are also scenes in which Daimon looks like a guy in a rubber monster suit, but the scenes in which he is stalking his victims in atmospheric lighting are really effective... At that point, Daimon looks absolutely terrifying! The rousing music score really adds to the film: Chilling horror music! The special effects are mixed in quality, but for the most part are excellent! (The scenes involving the miniature work at the beginning and the snake woman throughout the movie are flawless!) The monsters that confront Daimon range from cheesy to scary, but are quite unique.The DVD... Sharpness and contrast of picture is superb. The sound is a bit distorted at times when the music reaches its peak, but still excellent. The special features include previews for other films of this trilogy, YOKAI MONSTERS: 100 MONSTERS and YOKAI MONSTERS: ALONG WITH GHOSTS (which are unreleased on DVD as of this writing) as well as the more recent GAMERA films, the DAIMAJIN (MAJIN) trilogy and the Godzilla epic DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.ADV has brough us another great DVD package. Unlike Toho, Daiei is more liberal about the international market. Thank you ADV and Daiei!!! :)"
Fascinating insight into traditional Japanese superstition a
Wayne A. | Belfast, Northern Ireland | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These older fantasy Japanese films are terrific, and not necessarily in the ways that most people think. Imagine this scenario--North Pacific natives, with their Shamans and animism and such--find themselves on a large island where inherent limits of growth and scarce resources (and a few other things of course) promote the development of a fairly sophisticated culture with many roots straight into its tribal past. Then it quickly Westernizes within less than a half century and in such a way that it does not ignore its traditions but instead incorporates them. With these myths and legends going right back, untouched, to its early tribal days, by the time it gets around to creating fantasy films they tend to reflect a much different historical consciousness than their Western equivalents. Around 1960 the West produced Jason and the Argonauts and Japan saw these Yokai movies featuring individuals portraying magical nature creatures and wearing costumes strikingly not far removed from those used in rituals in the Northwest Pacific and certainly elsewhere. To approximate this phenomenon, Westerners would have to reference roots going back to before civilization, neolithic almost, largely forgotten history for the mass consciousness. I'd argue that Japan might be the single most astonishing nation on the planet.

Anyway, that's the way to watch and appreciate this film, and the others in the series. Hardly Sid and Marty Kroft territory and not exactly kiddie fare, these Yokai flicks are, in fact, striking studies in cultural anthropology. They also stand alone as beautifully crafted fantasies, rich in visual magic, and a good education in first class fantasy film art direction.

I think a lot of people get disappointed in these movies because they're expecting something camp and cult-y and on that level they just don't deliver. Sadly, since the Seventies or so, a lot of fine Japanese studio product from the Sixties and earlier has been unconscionably lumped in with Z-movies like "Teenagers from Outer Space" or Mexican wrestler flicks. Hip and trendy people looking for cultural goofiness were attracted to them for this reason; this film is even distributed by a company called "Rubbersuit" and that pretty much sums up the attitude. This is unfortunate, and I'd say it's also disrespectful to works that clearly had a lot of talent and imagination poured into them. Many of these Japanese products have excellent acting and first rate costumes (rubber suit aside--even the first "Alien" from that series was a rubber suit and anyway, those things aren't easy to fabricate or make work!). Stick any sci-fi or fantasy film made in the West from 1950 to 1975 (excepting Harryhausen's work which is sui generis, still underappreciated, and deserving of individual study, and any vintage Mario Bava--the man who could make $20 in props look artistic) against these remastered, subtitled, wide-screen Japanese films and you will be shocked. Many of these "camp" Japanese films are, at the least, better looking, more visually coherent, and far more magical. Notice that the Japanese even integrated stock footage more artfully, taking time to even (gasp!) match up the real jet fighter type to its special effects miniature--something even the best American films didn't bother to take time doing. [In an "equivalent" vintage American movie,"The Black Scorpion," (incredibly an O'Brian of King Kong fame flick) a train wreck features a steam locomotive whose tender clearly bears the legend "Lionel Lines"!] All in all, this is excellent entertainment that needs to be appreciated on its own terms. I'm glad to see them available on DVD. Check out similar offerings from Tokyo Shock and Rubbersuit's other films, especially "Daimajin.""
Spooks on the warpath
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 05/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, it's a cheesy monster movie. But it's a GOOD cheesy monster movie.

"Yokai Monsters - Spook Warfare" is one of the best examples of old Japanese horror, with traditional monsters in a comic battle of wits and magic. While a lot of the costumes aren't very convincing -- unsurprising for the 1960s -- it's a funny and very weird story.

A pair of Arab tomb-raiders are pillaging an ancient Babylonian ruin, when they accidently set free the ancient vampire Daimon. Daimon travels (for no apparent reason) over the sea to Japan, and takes over the body of the magistrate. After he trashes shrines, kills the dog, and starts sucking blood out of his servants, his daughter Chie (Akane Kawasaki) and her boyfriend Shinhachiro (Yoshihiko Aoyama) start to figure out that there's something wrong.

Daimon also evicts the house's water demon (or kappa), who flees to the Monsters' Shrine to ask for help from other apparitions. The other spooks don't believe him, until a pair of fleeing children confirm his story. Now they must wage war against a creature much more powerful than any of them -- and even killing Daimon might not end the battle.

Women with two faces. Kappas. Long-necked goblins. And ghosts with long weedy hair. Most of these aren't familiar to American moviegoers, but anyone who knows about Japanese lore will know why these are all in this movie. And it's loads of fun to see them try to oust the outside that's infringing on their turf.

What makes this movie different from most period flicks is the sense of humor. The various spooks tend to bumble and make mistakes (including getting sucked into an enspelled jar), before finally taking on a hundred-foot-tall Daimon. And the dialogue tends to be kind of wacky, at least (there's a special "Monsters Social Register" book).

Since this movie was made in the 1960s, there are a lot of rubber suits -- Daimon looks like a rubber dinosaur, and a lot of the spooks have papier-mache heads. And I won't get into that one-legged umbrella. But the actors do a good job with odd body language (like the kappa's flailing and crouching), and the humans even get some cool swordfights.

"Yokau Monsters - Spook Warfare" lives up to its name, with plenty of Japanese monsters and goofy antics. A charming cult film."
Old school Kaiju fans, don't miss this great film!
E. A Solinas | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I agree with Amazon customer STEPHEN W YANKOWICH's review: This is a great film on an excellent DVD. Being a fan of Japanese Kaiju movies I first was rather sceptical because of the Yokai monsters' unusual and weird look. But it turned out that YMSW is a very charming and atmospheric film which in parts is eerie and haunting, but also has it's (intentionally!) funny moments. I recommend this movie strongly to any open minded Kaiju as well as Tokusatsu fan who loves classic stuff from the 60's and 70's. It's well made and extremely entertaining!"