Every culture tells its own kind of ghost story, and the Japanese kaidan is a particularly chilling breed. We’ve compiled five bewitching classics for this week’s festival of free films on Hulu Plus, all of them haunted by female apparitions. In Kaneto Shindo’s atmospheric Kuroneko, a murdered mother and daughter exact vengeance on samurai; Nobuhiko Obayashi’s insane cult favorite House features seven teenagers going to visit a very strange, very dead, aunt; Masaki Kobayashi’s Cannes-prize-winning Kwaidan features four tales that will put ice in your veins; and Kenji Mizoguchi’s tragic Ugetsu is one of the greatest films ever made, an exquisitely designed, human drama about female sacrifice. (Plus, you can use the promo code SHADY at Criterion.com checkout to get 50% off these titles on Blu-ray or DVD.)
Our final selection is a rare and terrifying treat: Nobuo Nakagawa’s Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan, also known as The Ghost of Yotsuya. This complex, efficiently plotted work of true horror was made the same year as the director’s groundbreakingly gory Jigoku, and it has much of the same impact. Watch this never-before-on-DVD film—about a poisoned, disfigured wife who visits revenge on her murderous husband—in its entirety below, or on Hulu Plus, where you can see hundreds of other Criterion films for a monthly fee of just $7.99.