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Lady Snowblood - Blizzard from the Netherworld

Japan 1973
produced by
directed by Toshiya Fujita
starring Meiko Kaji, Ko Nishimura, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon, Miyoko Akaza, Eiji Okada
based on the manga by Kazuo Koike (writer), Kazuo Kamimura (artist), music by Masaaki Hirao

Lady Snowblood

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Japan, 1874: 3 men & a woman have murdered  Sayo's husband & raped her for 3 straight days & nights, leaving only the thought for revenge in her mind. & the first one, Tokoichi Shokei, she actually kills herself, but for that murder she gets a lifelong prison-sentence, & the only way to exact her revenge now is to conceive a child who will take over where the mother left off - Yuki (Maiko Kaji), whose birth the mother will only survive long enough to get a faint glimpse at her ...

20 years later: Trained by martial arts master reverend Dokai, Yuki has become a master killer, & with the help of Matsuemon, the leader of the beggars clan she soon finds the second of the men who raped her mother, Banzo Takemura. He proves not to be a snarling villain though but a hopeless gambler & alcoholic, whose good-natured daughter Kobue - unbeknowest to him - has to sell her body to finance his hobbies. & as if that wasn't enough, Banzo also tries to cheat at gambling, & Yuki actually has to save him from being killed by a gambling house owner for cheating ... only to have the opportunity to bloodily exact her revenge of course.

Next on the list is Gishiro Tsukamoto, who has brought it to fame & riches as a drugdealer ... but he died 3 years ago. At his grave though Yuki stumbles over journalist Ashio Ryurei, who is so intrigued by her story that he publishes it as a book ... but since Yuki didn't give him any information, how does he know everything ? Turns out reverend Dokai has told him everything as a bait to lure the last person on Yuki's list out into the open, Okono Kitahama.

& Okono, professional criminal in her own right, wastes no time bribing a few cops to arrest Ashio Ryurei as a bait for Yuki.

When Yuki finally arrives on the scene to save Ashio, it remains unclear who went into whose trap, but in a long & violent fight, in which Okono uses not only her sword but also guns, Yuki can kill Okono & her henchmen, & now she & Ashio can look into a brighter future together.

All's well that ends well ? 

Negative, as all of a sudden Gishiro Tsukamoto turns up very much alive at Ashio's place to warn him to stay out of the whole affair ... because, as we learn now, Gishiro is Ashio's father. But as Ashio despises his father for the scum he is, he tells everything to Yuki.

The 2 soon show up at a masque Gishiro holds at his estate - he is by now an international arms dealer with connections to international diplomacy - & in a backroom they fight it out with him & kill him ... only their victim wasn't really him but one of his henchmen disguised as him ...

The final fight takes place right in front of the eyes of all the guests, & Gishiro shows no hesitations in trying to kill his own son in the proceedings. In the end though Gishiro is killed by a sword thrown by Yuki that runs through both father and son, effectively killing them both.

With the greatest of efforts, Yuki leaves the party, when she suddenly is stabbed down by Kobue, who thanks to Ashio's book found out who has killed her father, & now is out for a spot of vengeance on her own ...


Stylishly shot revenge picture with massive swordsplay, with its colourful & almost lyrical direction often being in harsh contrast to the very bloody on-screen-goings-on - which actually works for the movie though, as it, paired with its very bleak & cynical take on the vendetta-motive, sets it rather apart from the usual vendetta-fodder.


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