Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1968
Director: Noriaki Yuasa
Writers: Kimiyuki Hasegawa, Kazuo Kozu, Kazuo Umezu
Cast: Yûko Hamada, Sachiko Meguro, Yachie Matsui, Mayumi Takahashi, Sei Hiraizumi, Yoshirô Kitahara, Kuniko Miyake, Osamu Maruyama

Release Date: September 20th, 2021 (UK), November 23rd, 2021 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 81 Minutes 57 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Japanese
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK) / $39.95 (USA)

"A young girl named Sayuri is reunited with her estranged family after years in an orphanage - but trouble lurks within the walls of the large family home. Her mother is an amnesiac after a car accident six months earlier, her sullen sister is confined to the attic and a young housemaid dies inexplicably of a heart attack just before Sayuri arrives... is it all connected to her father's work studying venomous snakes? And is the fanged, serpentine figure that haunts Sayuri's dreams the same one spying on her through holes in the wall?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "The High Definition Master was produced by Imagica Lab, Tokyo in 2021 and supplied to Arrow Films by Kadokawa Pictures. Additional optimization was completed at R3Store Studios, London."

The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 30 GB

Feature: 23 GB

Though there are some minor instances of source-related imperfections, The bulk of the transfer is in great shape. Image clarity, contrast, and black levels look strong throughout. That said, there are a few moments where black levels look milky.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Japanese, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear, and balanced, and the ambient sounds are well-represented.


Extras for this release include an image gallery (12 images - stills/poster/home video art), a trailer for The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired Witch (2 minutes 8 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Japanese with removable English subtitles), an interview with manga and folklore scholar Zack Davisson titled This Charming Woman (27 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with film historian David Kalat, reversible cover art, a limited-edition slipcover and a sixteen-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Coils of Trauma: Symbolism of a Snake Girl written by Raffael Coronelli and information about the transfer.


The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired Witch are adapted from Benigumo, Akanbou Shoujo, and Uroko no Kao, three manga written by Kazuo Umezu (The Drifting Classroom). And yet, the result is a film that transcends its sources.

Content-wise, The Snake Girl and The Silver-haired Witch is a melting pot of genres. With the bulk of the film being in the realm of supernatural horror, That said, it's hard to overlook the Gothic horror influence on The Snake Girl and The Silver-haired Witch.

From its opening moments, "The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired Witch" establishes an eerie tone that makes its twist ending all the more potent. Other strengths of The Snake Girl and The Silver-haired Witch include its deceptive narrative and use of surreal dream sequences. 

The most surprising aspect of The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired Witch is its performances, especially Yachie Matsui’s portrayal of the protagonist, a young orphan girl who’s besieged by terror after reuniting with her birth parents. Though she would only appear in one other film. She delivers a solid performance that perfectly captures her character's state of mind.

From a production standpoint, The Snake Girl and The Silver-haired Witch deliver and then some. It is a film that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Not to be overlooked are the stylish visuals that are overflowing with a foreboding atmosphere. Ultimately, The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired Witch is a superbly realized premise that does a fantastic job of mixing suspense and the supernatural. 

The Snake Girl and the Silver-haired Witch get a first-rate release from Arrow Video that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a trio of informative extras, highly recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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