Kaishakunin Kicks Off

After helping out on a few other projects, we are embarking on our next short film.  If you’re familiar with our last two projects, Spammer and Zombie Casserole, then you’re likely to expect another horror comedy.  Well, you’d be wrong. This time, we’re shooting a drama/mystery set in feudal Japan. Kaishakunin centers on a traveling samurai seeking the truth behind a local legend.

The title is taken from seppuku, the Japanese ritual of suicide.  From Wikipedia:

kaishakunin (Japanese: 介錯人) is an appointed second whose duty is to behead one who has committed seppuku, Japanese ritual suicide, at the moment of agony.

Western films that depict seppuku often overlook this crucial role. Kaishakunin explores the role and the relationship between the samurai and the one who would take his head.

As a storm approaches, a wandering samurai takes shelter in a humble home near a desolate forest. Over tea, the home’s owner tells his guest of a local legend.

Years ago, Yoichi, a skilled swordsman, went in the forest to commit seppuku. Shoji, another swordsman, was to serve as Yoichi’s kaishakunin. But Shoji refused to perform his duty, and Yoichi died in agony. Now Yoichi’s vengeful ghost haunts the forest and kills any samurai who dare enter.

The wandering samurai dismisses the home owner’s tale as childish fiction, but how much of the story is actually myth? Before the storm passes, perhaps both men will learn the truth.

If the ghost exists.

If the truth exists.

The script is by Jerry Janda, producer and screen writer of Painkiller and Black Wake. We’re excited to be working with him and look forward to continued collaboration. This will be Jerry’s directorial debut.

We’re happy to be continuing to work with Shmoolie aka Spencer Lerner on the score and sound design. Spencer did a fantastic job on our prior films.

Poster design for the film is being working on by Natasha O’Toole and Joachim Heijndermans.

Here’s a sample rough draft.

Table of Contents


Filling out our cast, we have Michael D. Bird as the traveling samurai.

Jeff Swisher as the home owner.

Mae Claire as the miko, a medium who summons the spirit of Yoichi.


Todd Frey, of Gessha House, is graciously allowing us to use his tea house for the primary set, and it’s the perfect setting for the film.

We’re thrilled to be working on a new and promising project and tackling another genre.

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