Benkei Rocks!

Great movie! Over the top with some of the blood spurting, but this is
about the best recent supernatural/samurai movies get. The theme of the
nature's powers contrasted with the corruption in the human world is
well explored, especially in the forest scenes where the score is
unique and compelling. It's also interesting that esoteric Buddhism
(the casting of spells, etc.) is contrasted with both devotional
Buddhism and the cult of nature.

Musashibo Benkei is one of my favorite characters ever and the actor
does a superb job with this role.


I agree, superb movie. Can anyone suggest similar movies, that kind of "fantasy" (not only samurai)?


Ashura-jô no hitomi (Ashura), 2005. Lots of demon-slaying, Kabuki acting and an extraordinary upside-down castle.


A little late to the discussion, but I'll second Ashura suggestion.

You could also try:

* Legend of Eight Samurai - has a similar feel to Ashura but not quite so polished
* Onmyoji 1 and 2 - set a lot earlier time but very much based on Onmyodo
* Makai tenshô: Samurai Reincarnation
* Versus - set in the modern day but there is plenty of sword-fighting as well as battles of good and evil
* Aragami - by the folks behind Versus but a period film that is a showdown between a samurai and the god of war
* Death Trance - same team again
* Zipang - psychedlic samurai fantasy film
* Demon Spies - the masked youngsters reminded me of this film
* Kwaidan - period Japanese ghost stories
* Horror of Malformed Men
* Jigokumon / Gate of Hell
* Portrait of Hell
* Azumi 1 and 2 - period film about a young group of assassins, no magic but a wonderfully over-the-top enemy in the first one
* Kibakichi 1 and 2 - the adventures of a werewolf samurai

It might be you'd be interested in the more exploitationy samurai films of the 60s and 70s (through to today) and the Gaimajin trilogy have a giant stone statue mixing it up with samurai.

You might also go for some of the odder ninja films:

* Alien vs Ninja
* Ninja in the Dragons Den
* Duel to the Death

I have a list of more:

You could also try some of the more extravagant wu xia films like (possibly if you wanted more like Ashura):

* Zu Warriors
* Legnds of Zu
* Storm Riders
* Dragon Tiger Gate

The other parallels might be in the kung-fu horror movies and I have a list for that:


Great list, Emperor, thanks.
We might add Ju-san no shikaku now. Not very supernatural, but the thirteenth man is probably a tengu; and it's a great film.


Be sure to catch Daisuke Ryu in his first major role, as the 40 something year old warlord Nobunaga in Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece "Kagemusha," and while you are watching this stunning performance, bear in mind that Ryu was 23 years old. Of course, he had the advantage of being a student of Tatsuya Nakadai. A very fine actor, typecast into cold-blooded, bad guy roles because he's over 6'1".