Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the Son of the Black Mass films from Japan. In the previous installment I reviewed the first of the films to star Raizo Ichikawa, the man who made the character his own even though there were three films made with the figure before Ichikawa and two after his death in 1969.
The title character was Kyoshiro Nemuri – a red-haired Samurai, the offspring of a Japanese woman and the insane Portugese Christian Missionary who raped her. That madman was dabbling in Satanism and so Nemuri was conceived during a Black Mass, hence the title of the novels and the subsequent film series.
At least it USED to be the title of the film series. The most recent video release of these neglected gems discarded the original title and even the secondary moniker of The Full Moon Killer series and went instead with the silly Sleepy Eyes of Death. I’ll point out again how misleading that title is for such a badass character.
SWORD OF ADVENTURE (1964) is the second of Ichikawa’s twelve films as Kyoshiro Nemuri. We’re still a couple installments away from this series reaching the heights of bizarreness and anarchy that it is known for, so this tale has more in common with conventional Samurai flicks.
In late 1780’s Edo (later to be called Tokyo) Nemuri is whiling away an afternoon along a public thoroughfare whose dining and shopping establishments afford a magnificent view of Mount Fuji. An enterprising little boy trying to raise himself after his father was killed and his establishment taken over pulls one of the few strings yet unfrozen in Nemuri’s ever-colder heart. Continue reading