A 1964 film directed by Masaki Kobayashi, based on the Japanese ghost stories collected and translated by Lafcadio Hearn. The spelling "kwaidan" for "ghost story" is deliberately old-fashioned; the current romanization would be "kaidan."
The film is an anthology of four unrelated stories.
* "Black Hair": A samurai divorces his poor but honest weaver wife to marry the daughter of a prominent family and thus advance his position.
* "The Woman of the Snow": A woodcutter (Creator/TatsuyaNakadai) encounters the ''yuki-onna'' spirit and is spared on the condition that he tell no one of his experience.
* "Earless Ho'ichi": A blind musician who specialzes in the historical saga "The Tale of the Heike" has to make a command performance.
* "In a Cup of Tea": An unfinished story about a samurai who sees someone else's reflection, and a possible reason the story was unfinished.
Kwaidan won a special jury prize at Cannes in 1965 and received a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination.
!! Tropes seen in this film include:
* AdaptationExpansion: "Earless Ho'ichi" begins with a retelling of the final Genji-Heike battle, only alluded to in the literary version.
* AnIcePerson: The yuki-onna, who is the personification of freezing to death.
* AnthologyFilm: Four horror stories.
* BedMateReveal: In "Black Hair," the samurai finally returns home to his former wife, and they share a night of passion. The next morning, he awakens to find that he's lying next to a long-decayed corpse.
* BilingualBonus: You might be able to guess the ending of 'The Woman of the Snow" anyway, but if you know that "Yuki"--the name of the woodcutter's wife--is the Japanese for "snow", you'll definitely guess the ending.
* BookEnds: The man's expression as he looks at the reflection at the end of "In a Cup of Tea" echoes that of the samurai at the end of "Black Hair."
* DutchAngle: Used for most of the final few moments of "Black Hair", after the samurai realizes that his wife is actually a dessicated corpse.
* ForbiddenFruit: The woodcutter must tell no one of his encounter with the yuki-onna, not even his wife. Eventually, he feels compelled to do it.
* ForegoneConclusion: "Earless Ho'ichi."
* GiantEyeOfDoom: In "The Woman of the Snow", a giant eye, presumably a manifestation of the ''yuki-onna'', appears and is watching the woodcutters as they stagger through the blizzard.
* GoldDigger: The samurai in "Black Hair" is a male variant: he abandons his first wife to marry a woman who can give him access to more wealth and power.
* InterspeciesRomance: Or so the woodcutter discovers when his loving wife reveals herself as the ''yuki-onna''.
* NoEnding: The samurai's story in "In a Cup of Tea.'
* OurSoulsAreDifferent: "In a Cup of Tea."
* PrehensileHair: The samurai in "Black Hair" is obsessed with his former wife's hair, so it shouldn't come as a shock that he sees the hair coming after him at the end of the episode.
* ProtectiveCharm: Hoichi's master writes a magic inscription all over every inch of his body, which makes him invisible to the spirit of the dead warriror. Unfortunately, the master forgets Hoichi's ears.
* RuleOfThree: "In a Cup of Tea", the samurai tosses away the water when he sees the stranger's reflection twice, but the third time he drinks.
* SnowMeansDeath: It certainly does when you're meeting a ''yuki-onna'' snow demon.