The movie Hiruko the Goblin (1991) is a Japanese horror film directed by Shinya Tsukamoto and starring Kenji Sawada. The movie is based on a manga by Daijiro Morohoshi. Reijiro Hieda is a young and energetic archeologist, albeit a discredited one for advocating wild theories about the supernatural. A letter from his brother-in-law Takashi Yabe, a junior high school teacher, tells of his discovery of an ancient tomb built to seal an evil spirit ( yōkai ). Yabe and one of his students, Reiko Tsukishima, investigate the burial mound but mysteriously disappear. Hieda arrives in town to look into the matter. Yabe’s son, Masao, searches for his father in the school during summer vacation and sees a returned Reiko at the schoolhouse, seemingly seducing his gardening classmate Kono. Masao finds himself afflicted with mysterious incidents where his back seemingly heats up and emits smoke; small blackened faces of the dead appear on his back during these fits. Masao and Hieda search the schoolhouse with Hieda’s array of gadgets; both Kono and Masao’s friends Aoi and Katagiri are found horrifically murdered by a switchblade. The nephew and uncle pair initially suspects the suspicious janitor, Watanabe, who had tried to keep people away from the schoolhouse, but soon realize that the disembodied singing head of Reiko is at fault.
- Kenji Sawada as Reijirou Hieda
- Masaki Kudou as Masao Yabe
- Hideo Murota as Watanabe
- Naoto Takenaka as Takashi Yabe
- Megumi Ueno as Reiko Tsukishima
In his book Horror and Science Fiction Film IV, Donald C Willis stated that Hiruko the Goblin was a variation of Bug, The Fly, Attack of the Crab Monsters and A Nightmare on Elm Street III 1.
Hiruko the Goblin has been praised for its visuals 2. A review by Asian Movie Pulse describes it as “a wonderful horror film with the right amount of suspense, gore and comedy” 3. A review by Grimoire of Horror describes it as “a well deserved cult classic” 2.
1: “Hiruko the Goblin – Wikipedia”. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
5: “Hiruko the Goblin (1991) Film Review – Grimoire of Horror”. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
7: “Film Review: Hiruko the Goblin (1991) by Shinya Tsukamoto”. Retrieved 4 October 2023.