Onibaba is a great film. I first came across it on a Criterion release. I loved it so much I even upgraded to the R2 edition from Eureka because it has a better print (with better framing). So call me a real fan. I knew of this film, but hadn't watched it until tonight. I'm spellbound. I'd never denigrate Onibaba, it's a terrific piece of cinema. Little did I know that Shindô had actually bettered the film with Kuroneko. Bettered in the sense that it plays as wonderful theater, mixing and matching different levels of melodrama and minimalist stage setups. The plot itself is a more traditional ghost story - with vengeful spirits returning to exact justice on Samurai. Melodrama plays a part as a son, now Samurai, returns from the wars as a hero - with the head of the enemy in a backpack. Eternal damnation or love? Stunning black and white photography - superb soundtrack (the opening track has echoes of Suspiria in it) - some great wire work and surreal set pieces combine to inject fear, pathos, and sentimentality into the film. It's just brilliant. Sadly, the print is a bit soft, but no matter. Such a superb film, absolutely one fo the best pieces of asian cinema I have ever seen. This instantly rises into my top five asian films. Hope more of you have experienced this.