JIGOKU (1960) – The Dungeon Photo Review!

Jigoku was directed by Nobuo Nakagawa and has been re-made twice; once in 1970 by Tatsumi Kumashiro, and again in 1999 by Teruo Ishii. For my money, you can’t beat the original! Jigoku is one of the first horror films to use “gore” and includes flaying and decapitating among other delights. Even without the gore the visuals are extremely impressive. Some films just can not be justified by a simple written review. If any film deserves a visual review it is Jigoku. Jigoku translated means Hell and Hell is beautifully realized in this bizarre and highly visual mind fuck.

A little fun fact before I begin my review. Did you know there is a Nine Hells of Beppu located in Japan? The “Hells” are in fact ponds fed by Geothermal springs. Thanks to the various minerals flowing though its water each pond has a remarkable and rather unnatural character and color. One of them is called Shaven Head Hell!

Student Shiro is engaged to his professor’s daughter Yukiko. While Shiro is visiting with his fiancée and her parents his creepy and aggressive acquaintance Tamura shows up and offers to drive him home. They take an unfamiliar side street and end up hitting a drunk in the road. Unbeknownst to them the man’s mother witnesses the accident and conspires with her daughter-in-law to find and kill the two drivers.

Shiro can not live with his feelings of guilt and divulges the secret to his fiancée and the two decide to go to the police. His fiancée begs him to walk but he insists on a cab which crashes and kills her! You’ve got some seriously bad mojo Shiro dude!

Shiro goes to a bar and meets Yoko; who happens to be the widow of the man they killed in the hit and run. A happy coincidence for Yoko!

Shiro is informed by telegram that his mother is dying. He flees to the retirement home in the country run by his own father. But Shiro’s bad mojo is packing its bags and coming along for the trip. Hot on his heels are the mother and ex-wife of their hit and run victim and his creepy buddy Tamura. That isn’t the only trouble Shiro faces. His sleazy father is having sex with his mistress in the room next to his dying wife. The woman caring for his mother is a dead-ringer for his dead fiancée. Just about every character in the story has something to feel guilty about, and a few of them are just sleazebags.

Every single character in this film will spend some time in Hell.

Welcome to Hell!! Rivers of blood and endless tortures await you!


Some serious gore for 1960!


Human Walkway

Rivers of Blood

More impressive 1960’s gore!

This guy had it coming.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Nobuo Nakagawa

Starring: Shigeru Amachi, Utako Mitsuya, Yôichi Numata, Hiroshi Hayashi, Jun Ôtomo, Akiko Yamashita

10 Responses to “JIGOKU (1960) – The Dungeon Photo Review!”

  1. I have yet to watch this but from what I know it’s a landmark title in Japanese horror.

    • I really liked this one. But then again, I have yet to dislike a single Japanese horror film I’ve seen from the 60s or 70s! NOT ONE!! This movie is on the quirky side and has some kick ass imaganitive imagery that is very impressive. As mentioned it also has some very impressive gore. Definitely one you should check it! The ending is a curiosity, although I rather dug it. I think I’ve mentioned to you that our library here in Vancouver has a pretty wicked selection of Japanese films. I’ve borrowed some pretty hard to find gems from there!!

      • I’ll have to purchase this one. My university library has Akira Kurosawa and Masaki Kobayashi and little else so I end up purchasing mine. I’ve got a backlog to work through like Kwaidan which I’ve had since 2006 and haven’t even opened.

        Indie Movies Online has a nice selection of Japanese films.

  2. Jigoku is great! Glad to see it getting some press in the blogosphere. I found it by accident on TCM last summer so I hope your review will convince others to seek it out.

    • Catching old horror flicks on TV…I do miss that about not having cable. This film is pretty neato. I think I have enjoyed every single Japanese horror films I have seen from the 60’s in varying degrees. An interesting and experimental period for Japan (and the rest of the world too I suppose)!

  3. Beanhammer Says:

    This looks bloody fantastic.

    Sure to check out.

    • Beanhammer…great handle. Jigoku is definitely a unique one and quirkier and gorier than most of its peers from the time.

      • Beanhammer Says:

        Btw great blog, I’ve seen a lot of the stuff you review on here but find new ones as well.

        Greetings from Yorkshire, England 😀

  4. […] (1955), Night of the Demon (1957), Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Jigoku (1960) and Godzilla (1954 & […]

  5. […] film visually that is as beautiful as it is bizarre. To check out my photo review for Jigoku click here. Jigoku is an exceptionally unique Japanese horror film…and it has […]

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