Blu-ray Review: The Mad Fox (1962)

June 26, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Down Medieval Kyoto way, the skies are ablaze with a fucked-up, ill-omen, phenomenon… a phenomenon that sets the royal palace on it’s collective, superstitious, arse.

To that end, the Court Astrologer, Yasunori, is summoned to the palace, but as he journeys forth, he gets himself an incurable case of the murders. Come to find out, Yasunori’s wife is a bit of a black widow, and now that her hubby is tits up, she can focus on her paramour Doman (Shinji Amano).

And since the deadly duo seem to have a knack for bumpin’ folks off, they also kill Yasunori’s adopted daughter for shits n’ grins. Fortunately, her main-squeeze Yasuna (Hashizô Ôkawa) escapes their evil clutches… but he’s half-way to Crazy Town when he’s waylayed by bandits.

Naturally he’s rescued by masked fox spirits, as is so often the case, and his destiny will never be the same!

The Mad Fox is a delirious hodge-podge of kabuki theater, stagey sets, period costumes, surreal lighting… and much more that you wouldn’t think would work harmoniously, yet unholy hell does it ever!

Under the skilled hand of director Tomu Uchida (working from a script by Yoshikata Yoda), The Mad Fox  creates an off-kilter dreamworld that manages to convey an impactful, effective narrative among all of it’s aesthetic indulgences… and that is no easy feat, believe-you-me my cats n’ creeps!

All of this is highlighted by the beautiful restoration done for this release supervised by legendary Japanese film studio Toei, who originally released the film to theaters back in the ancient year 1962.

Along with all of the visual delights on hand with The Mad Fox, Arrow Video has included a few treats in the bonus features department of this Blu-ray release! First up we get a new audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, that details the film’s production and history in scholarly detail. also included are the film’s original theatrical trailer, an image gallery, and illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and kabuki expert Ronald Cavaye and Japanese & East Asian cinema specialist Hayley Scanlon.

Bottom line: The Mad Fox is a visual feast, and a fantasy journey well worth taking… so get on the ride already!



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