Girl Divers Of Spook Mansion

As the title indicates, Magatani Morihei’s Girl Divers Of Spook Mansion (Ama no Bakemono Yashiki) is a mash-up of the ama (woman diver) and horror genres of a type that Shintoho had attempted before - but never quite so entertainingly.
Mihara Yoko stars as Kyoko, a proper-looking young woman who has come to visit her distraught college friend Aoyama Yumi (Seto Reiko) at her home on the Aoiso Coast, famous for its ama. The Aoyama mansion, Yumi says, is haunted - and she fears for her life.
After her father committed suicide, she explains, her mother died insane and other family misfortunes followed, including the disappearance of her older sister and the unnatural death of her older brother’s wife. Now Yumi lives alone with her grandmother (Satsuki Fujie) and the servants - and is visited every night by the wife’s ghost. Desperate, she has asked Kyoko, now a policewoman, for help, though her tormentor is beyond the reach of human law.
Meanwhile, Kayo (Banri Masayo) is working as an ama in the Aoyama family fishing grounds. But when she dives in an off-limits area, she gets into a fight with the boss (Misaki Yoji) and another ama, Hide (Mifune Yoko). Kayo, however, was not poaching, but investigating the area at the request of a visiting university professor (Numata Yoichi) who is conducting a fishery survey. Soon after, a cabaret hostess is murdered in Tokyo’s Edogawa district. A black pearl found in her stomach is traced to the Aoyama family. Also, a business card is found in her room belonging to a Mr. Kimura. Who is this mystery man? And what do the Aoyamas have to do with the killing? A young police detective (Sugawara Bunta) goes to Aoiso to investigate.
The story is a lumpy genre stew, but Magatani stirs in some memorable scenes, such as the ferocious cat fight between Banri and Mifune on the beach and Mihara’s gutsy investigation of the mansion’s dim, creepy cellar. When she rubs elbows with a large, obviously live snake hanging from the rafters, she barely blinks. What chance does a mere ghost have against this steel-nerved woman?
Mark Schilling
Film Director: Morihei MAGATANI
Year: 1959
Running time: 81'
Country: Japan