Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare (1968) Review

Mike Matei / February 15th, 2013

James reviews Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare from 1968.


  • Seigfreed2391

    February 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Wow Yokai Are Crazy!

    Never Mess with a yokai if you see one THEY DO EXIST.

  • February 16, 2013 at 12:09 am


  • choco-factory

    February 16, 2013 at 12:10 am

    The so-called asian vampires that you mention is more like a man-eating zombie monster in China. Not Japan.
    And the weird ass yokai with the long neck and two face are rather popular stuff too. Man, I can’t imagine how strange this all may seem to the foreign audience…
    Anyway, I love your show as always. Great review! K

    • Seigfreed2391

      February 16, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Yokai Are awesome Creatures. I truly Believe the Exist But they are keen to keep out of the ways of mankind just as then as they are now.

    • Dale Yuan

      February 16, 2013 at 7:31 am

      In fact,that is a vampire.In China,we think there are two kinds of vampires.One is western vampires(like Dracula).The other one is traditional Chinese vampire. We usually called them “Jiang Shi”(僵尸).You can see this name in the game “Castlevania Order of Ecclesia”.It`s a boss in the cave. But we also called zombies “Jiang Shi” sometimes.So many people make mistakes.

      • choco-factory

        February 17, 2013 at 7:47 am

        Oops, excuse me for the misunderstanding. It does not help that I have not seen that movie, but can you tell the difference from the zombie to the dracula sort from its appearance? Having the same name is does not help either… hmm anyways that’s very interesting. Thanks for letting me know!

        And thanks Seigfreed2391 I feel complimented 😀

    • Dale Yuan

      February 18, 2013 at 4:40 am

      The Chinese vampires never afraid of cross and holy water.But they afraid of glutinous rice.The Taoist priests in China use spells to control the vampires.If some guy died in strange land.Taoist priests will use magic to turn him into a vampire.Then the priests will send him to his hometown.Then his dependents bury him(make him in peace) and give the priests money for thanks.But if a vampire has drunk enough blood.It will be very powerful.The spells will cannot control them.Their bodies will became stiff.In fact,the word “Jiang Shi”(Chinese vampire) means “the stiff bodies” in Chinese.

  • mokusei75

    February 16, 2013 at 12:14 am

    That’s an awesome movie. Thanks for doing a review, James, and bringing it to my attention!!

  • February 16, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Who you calling “spook” peckerwood?? 😉

  • Madie

    February 16, 2013 at 12:23 am

    very interesting….

  • February 16, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Knowing a bit about Japanese monster folklore really helps to understand this movie. I recommend the book “Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide”, its a great reference when exploring Japanese horror movies, games and comics. 😉

  • brett coffey

    February 16, 2013 at 1:32 am

    The Yokai monster that you called a water imp. Its name is Kappa.

  • marc_lawson

    February 16, 2013 at 1:35 am


    It’s not a bear in The Shining; it’s a reference to the book. It’s supposed to be a gay man named Roger dressed in a dog suit giving a blowjob to the man sitting on the bed named Horace Derwent: a bisexual (“AC/DC” as described in the book) and the former owner of The Overlook Hotel! It’s in the book. No Joke!

    -Obsessive fan of The Shining

  • February 16, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Spirited Away is what comes to mind when I see these creepy spirit designs. The Dr. has spoken.

  • Dale Yuan

    February 16, 2013 at 1:54 am

    The monster in Robor Vampire is some kink of Chinese vampire.In China people called them “jiangshi”(僵尸).They are very famous in Janpan,too.There are many movies about them.Maybe they are difficult to understand for western people.But they are funny.And the Yokai monsters are form the Janpanese Legends.If you know the legends.The movie will be much easy to understand.

  • Jashin

    February 16, 2013 at 2:11 am

    James, You should take into account that the standards for children’s entertainment in Japan is much different than in the united states. There is cursing “foul language” in series such as Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, DBZ, and lots of other series intended for young ages, as well as a good bit of violence. Japan doesn’t try to shield their children as much as western society does because their culture doesn’t consume entertainment on the same level we do and they are deeply rooted in social values and a strong work ethic. Where as kids in our society sit around and watch TV or are in the internet 6-12 hours a day.

  • Dante Rodrigez

    February 16, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I think I saw some kind of remake of this movie 1 or 2 years ago. Don’t know if it was an actual remake but the story was pretty similar.

  • signormu

    February 16, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Actually japanese swear words are very tame and there are but a few words which you can’t use in a kid’s movie. Probabily they just turned into stronger english swear words in the subtitles! Even by japanese standards of kids enterteinmanent this looks rather bloody though.

  • DogMonster5000

    February 16, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Is this movie in any way related to the 2005 film The Great Yokai War? I found it perusing the virtual shelves of NetFlix, and it was, most probably, at least inspired by these films.

  • February 16, 2013 at 6:50 am

    I don’t think that’s supposed to be a bear, James. I think that’s supposed to be a tanuki, a Japanese racoon dog. One of the legends of the tanuki is that they have have enlarged testicles (as seen in the Studio Ghibli movie Pom Poko). They’re also supposed to have enlarged bellies, as seen in this movie.

    • February 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

      Oh, and the water imp is known as a Kappa. They’re sort of like a humanoid cross between a turtle and a frog. They have a bowl of water in the head and are rendered helpless if that water is ever spilled. Hellboy fights one in the animated movie Hellboy: Sword of Storms.

      • Dale Yuan

        February 16, 2013 at 7:12 am

        Right!Kappa(河童) means “children in rivers”.

  • February 16, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I wanna see that version of Beauty and the Beast!

    But yes, their standards for violence, cursing and nudity are ver different than they are in NA.

  • February 16, 2013 at 9:44 am

    James you must not wathc a lot of anime huh?

    Yokai is more like a generic term for a “good” monster.

    All of the “wierd crazy yokai” are actually quite standard japanese monsters dating back hundreds of years. That’s why the umbrella monster has a wooden sandal on. He’s such an old character that he was around when people still wore wooden sandals! It’s kind of like dracula always being dressed like it’s still the 1600s.

    Yeah all of these guys are quite common. It would be safe to compare them to western legends like vampires, werewolves, ect…

    The others filled you in about the Kappa…

    Fun Facts:

    Their head is quite soft. If you hit them on the head they’ll die!

    Bowser and the Koopas are based around the kappa monster. The bear thing is most likely supposed to be a Tanooki (raccoon demon) btw as one of their traits is to swell up.

  • juggalo747

    February 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

    That looks pretty damn weird. I just got all 3 of them. I actually have a strange movie that you would probably love. It’s called “Trick ‘r Treat” and it’s four movies that go on at the same time, so for example, you see a man yell at his neighbor, his neighbor goes in the house, then you see that guy that did the yelling proceed with whatever he is doing. Then later, you see the same scene again, except the camera follows the neighbor into his house and you see what he is up to. It’s very strange. The genre would be slasher/sci-fi/mystery/thriller/horror/comedy.

  • Kenshiroh

    February 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I’ve heard of a lot of these Yokai through the Usagi Yojimbo comics. (In case you didn’t already know, Usagi isn’t really a TMNT character. He has his own comic, but occasionally crosses over with the TMNT.) The ones Usagi encounters aren’t normally heroic, though.

  • Kenshiroh

    February 16, 2013 at 11:25 am

    If I had kids, I would rather have them watch this movie than the Michael Bay Transformers movies.

  • lynn204

    February 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Hey have you guys noticed that most of these monster appear in pocky and rocky for the snes?

    • IceNinja258

      February 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Well Pocky and Rocky is a game based in Japan so it makes sense that you’re a shrine maiden defeating these Yokai monsters.

  • February 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Touhou Yokai vs. Yokai monsters. Who would win?

  • genju

    February 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    James, the umbrella yokai is called a karakasa.

  • February 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    so wut if theres cussin
    it was da 60s n japan so children n otha contrys watch stuff like dis n their parents let dem

  • 321LetsJam

    February 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    James, there some things you didn’t quite get right or understand about this film.

    Firstly, “Spook Warfare” is the SECOND of the three movies. The first one is “100 Ghost Stories” or “100 Monsters” here in America. It was released in March of 1968. The second film, “Spook Warfare”, which features most of the cast of “100 Ghost Stories”, was released in December of 1968. The last film, “Journey Along With Tokaido Road Ghosts”, or “Along With Ghosts” in America, was released in March of 1969 on a double-bill with “Gamera vs. Guiron.” I’m not sure why people seem to think “Spook Warfare” was the first one. Maybe it’s because ADV put it out first, but is in fact a sequel.

    Th thing about kids films is you’re comparing it to children’s things here in America. In Japan, it’s a WHOLE different ballgame. Blood and violence are common in Japanese children’s programs. As to the swearing? That’s no big deal either. Even Eiichi swears “Shit!” at one point in the Japanese version of “Gamera vs. Gaos.”

  • ToadRoad

    February 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Even when you’re just doing a quick movie review you make truly entertaining videos. If only you didn’t make such consistently good videos then the wait for a new one wouldn’t be so bad.

  • February 16, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Yokai monsters something pretty similar to those tiny litle ruber monster figurines close to kiniguman legacy,that called monsters in my pocket.Though its not entirelly the same stuff,you can see actually from where they took those ideas to make toys in the future.

  • February 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    The ‘Yokai Attack’ book is great. My interest in them was actually piqued by Okami. Great game, great amount of Japanese folklore behind it. This movie looks fun.

  • taykel

    February 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Very freaky!

  • Peon

    February 17, 2013 at 12:17 am

    One thing about the Japanese you have to realize, James, is that the entire culture is desensitized to violence. Blood, guts, and killing are staples of conversation and media in Japan. I would also like to include profanity in that statement, to completely explain your confusion, because the Japanese also portray quite a few intense confrontations in their films and literature. So yeah, if you’re a Japanese kid you can watch all the blood, guts, and violence (also verbal perhaps) you want, BUT……..just nothing sexual. Sex is even still a very taboo subject in Japanese media, and to this day I still see clips from pornos filmed there with blocky censorship blobs covering the private bits. Of course, Europe is the opposite, where sex is no big deal, but violence is very tough to get approved. The USA has always been fine with both, but never to either extreme of cultural acceptance for as long as I can remember. Things are gradually leveling out, for all 3 cultures, but there are still movies like this one that harken back to accepted ideals from a former age.

    • UberNoodle

      February 17, 2013 at 5:33 am

      What rubbish. A culture desensitised to violence? I have been living in Japan for ten years now and I know from that first hand experience that that’s not correct. However, Japan is coy about sexual depictions when it comes to genitalia, yet otherwise sex while kept private and not flaunted is not as taboo as you assert. Half the reason many Westerners think Japan is ‘perverted’ is entirely because the culture ISN’T as repressed as you think. Certainly, the USA is very much desensitised to violence, a fact easily displayed by its mainstream entertainment. Mainstream films and television made in Japan is generally quite tame in comparison and far more focused on emotional content than violence. The problem is, that content is not readily available outside of Japan, and thus what IS available are the more violent, depraved and wierd material which sells well because it adheres to Western pre-conceptions of what Japanese culture is like. The fact is, while violence is a mainstay of mainstream Western media and television, it is far more subtle in mainstream Japanese equivalents.

    • HomingMissiles

      February 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Desensitized to violence? That’s kind of a tough sweeping generalization to make. Even if it’s true, I’d guess they’re no more desensitized than we are. I mean, sure, there’s a noteworthy branch in the japanese movie industry dedicated to producing quite extreme, over-the-top gory movies (James and Mike have talked about some of them), but it’s far from the norm. Jidaigeiki films also traditionally depict lots of bloody swordfight, the kind of which Tarantino just can’t get enough. But then movies like torture-porn “Saw” are very popular over here amongst teenage audiences. What is certain is that they have a very different artistic approach to violence than we do.

      However, I must mention that mainstream japanese videogames have absolutely NOTHING on current AAA western titles when it comes to violence. This is so obvious and rampant that hardly needs example (I’ll give one anyway: Dead Space). Even some of the goriest japanese games, like the Resident Evil series post-RE3, are somewhat tailored to also appeal to a western audience.

      Sex may be taboo in mainstream venues, but it’s portrayed quite liberally (some would say TOO liberally) in erotic manga/anime and a specialized branch of PC games. While they may have weird laws (for us anyway) regulating depiction of genitalia in porn, they also tolerate fictional portrayal of acts otherwise considered way too offensive and insensitive to western espectators. The “Rapelay case” is quite illustrative of this cultural divergence.

  • Doogrisa

    February 17, 2013 at 1:14 am

    People in Japan are fucking weird!

    • UberNoodle

      February 17, 2013 at 5:34 am

      I know for a fact that the Japanese here think the same about your culture.

      • Doogrisa

        February 17, 2013 at 11:28 am


  • arkahm

    February 17, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Takashi Miike made a loosley based remake of this trilogy into one movie


  • arkahm

    February 17, 2013 at 1:52 am

  • February 17, 2013 at 2:51 am

    What a weird movie!
    It’s so spooky for kids hahaha
    but I’d watch it just for fun!
    Regards from Mexico City

  • UberNoodle

    February 17, 2013 at 5:37 am

  • HighVoltage

    February 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

    WTF! That is all.

  • erik37

    February 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

    how could you sit through that lol fucking awesome review man 🙂

  • David Smith

    February 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I believe the bear monster may be a Tanuki. They are well known in Japan for having mythical enlarging body parts. For example, in the Ghibli movie Pom Poko, their genitals inflate. And there is an inflating Tanuki in InuYasha that flies through the sky. So I could see one of them inflating his stomach and having a magic TV on it.

  • Doctor Tyrannosarus Rex

    February 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I’ll try to clear up some of the confusion as to how this is fit for children:

    In Japanese, swear words isn’t a concept. At least not in the same way, and to the same extent. The swears were added in in the subtitles. But even so, nothing was really mistranslated in the clips you showed, they just chose to translate the rudeness in the tone and phrases as swears, even if they didn’t have swears in Japanese.

    As for the monster designs: Those are all very famous designs that many children have seen before. Not in high detailed, or realistic looking movies, but in simplistic drawings, or have had explained to them in story books. So seeing the designs realized in live action should mostly be neat to small Japanese children, and not very frightening.

    Not so sure about the gore though. I’m not sure how bad it was, but Japan is usually pretty strict about showing gory stuff to minors. But they do have a much higher bar before it gets too much. In media targeted towards kids, there will often be mild or stylized violence. Sword through the chest with no blood in slow motion as a main character dies/is handicapped wouldn’t be considered too much, if done tastefully. Main character hunting for food with a rifle however, would.

  • February 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Have you guys ever made a video without cursing? Just wondering.

  • iamashithead

    February 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    James, you should do a Doom memories video! I’d love to see it.

  • February 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    wow. wtf. Fairy tales are fucked up.

  • frostare

    February 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    All of a sudden Touhou came to my mind

  • February 18, 2013 at 12:15 am

    The water imp looks like Booskaboo from Seiken Densetsu 3. Anyone?

  • ShrimpHaze

    February 18, 2013 at 4:49 am

    the 2005 remake “the great yokai war” isn´t bad if you are in to this weird shit

    • ShrimpHaze

      February 18, 2013 at 4:51 am

      i caught it at 3am on german television without any context but i just had to watch it

  • February 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, this thing looks crazy. Very neat and interesting looking. I’ve got to hunt it down and watch it, thanks James.

  • meamironman

    February 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    isn’t that imp called a kappa frog?

  • February 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    In 2005 they made another “yokai” movie. A bit of an homage I think. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425661/

  • likalaruku

    February 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    When I was a little girl, I was already watching Seinen anime; nudity & gore galore.

  • likalaruku

    February 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Yeah, I remember seeing a lot of these youkai & mamono from both Mythology Class & Japanese Language Class in highschool. I’d say 0% of them were based on American or European movie monsters.

  • February 19, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Go here if you want more detailed information on what all these monsters are:


  • Brandon Giudice

    February 19, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Hey I saw this at Godzilla-Fest 2011. This was a very strange movie filled with really interesting monsters.

  • Uncle Sporkums

    February 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for showcasing this kind of cool obscure stuff, James! I’ll have to check these out!

  • February 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    All of the used copies of Spook warfare sold out fast on Amazon after your review, so I bought the trilogy instead. Spook Warfare was going for $90+ on Amazon, however I believe the stand alone dvd of this film is in English, however everything is in Japanese with subs on the trilogy. Not a big deal.

  • Aaron1375

    February 20, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Nice review…that looks like some pretty messed up stuff there. On a side note, you wouldn’t happen to know why I can’t order the AVGN dvds would you or anyone?

  • pikmintaro

    February 20, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    James mentions in this video that it isn’t really a movie for children, but what you are talking about is American children, in Japan they aren’t quite as sheltered, and I can guarantee you a lot of the swearing is just added in the subtitles, and they don’t actually swear that much in the original language, or they are words that mean the same basic thing but aren’t considered to be swear words in Japan.
    As for the blood, just watch something like One Piece, Bleach, or Naruto all targeted for the “twelve and up” demographic in Japan, and all have plenty of blood, what happens in the movie isn’t anything new to the children over there.

    As for Yokai themselves, it isn’t always objects coming to life, Yokai is a very broad spectrum term that can cover everything from Fairies, and Elves, to Ogres, and as you mentioned objects that come to life.
    Somebody already mentioned checking out a book called “Yokai attack” and I recommend it too, along with Yurei attack.

  • Sarah Bahia

    February 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    A great strange movie! I also like Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts (1969).

  • Top Gear Tony

    February 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I love Japanese monsters and folk law. I’ll check this movie out thanks. And to think, before this I only associated the word Yokai with the Touhou games.

  • mr.chaunceytovantron

    February 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    they sould relasse like mill creek

  • Tre Ferro

    February 23, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Hey guys (James or Mike), if you wanted to review a monster movie that either of you guys never reviewed on this site, would you guys be honored to review a movie called, “Eight Legged Freaks” sometime sooner or later? Because I would like to see either Mike or James’ take on this film.

  • Ben_from_G-town

    February 24, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Really weird is an understatement! Fun review, James. This gives a good idea of what some of the monsters we see in anime would be like in real life!

  • February 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Sweet. I must give this beautiful educational movie to my nieces.

  • February 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    And this was intended for like a 7 year old!?


  • February 25, 2013 at 4:04 am

    hmm I’m wondering why the Nerd didn’t mention Miike’s “The Great Yokai War”, which features nearly all Yokai characters. Over all I like to see a review of Miike’s weird movies by James. Here the trailer for “The Great Yokai War” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uwYENgK1UE

  • avaneeded

    March 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    the umbrella monster which also appears in the blue cover looks a lot like jumpershoot from kirby

    • LeyLey

      March 10, 2013 at 5:14 am

      That umbrella monster is called a karakasa obake, and it appears in many video games. Supposedly, they’re born when an umbrella has been around for a hundred years, it then gains a soul and becomes a youkai, as do many other inanimate objects in the folklore called tsukumogami, like paper lanterns.
      The lovely long necked woman, rokurokubi, looks reeeeally awesome in this movie. It’s like the cinematography was done perfectly in these little clips we get to see her in the shadows, she’s instantly my favorite youkai in the group.

  • Strazdas

    June 4, 2013 at 6:10 am

    You silly americans think that “strong” language is something automatically not fit for kids. whats next, you are going to complain about nudity? oh wait, you already do -.-

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