This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us to the Land of the Rising Sun. There is an urban legend. I first heard about this woman around the time that The Dark Knight first came out in theaters in 2008 because of the resemblance to The Joker in the movie. Even now, as I refresh my memory of the Japanese urban legend, I feel chills.
The more modern version of the Slit Mouthed Woman tale goes that a woman decides to get a divorce from her husband, who is schizophrenic, bipolar, and physically abusive. When he discovers this, he snaps. He knocks her out, ties her up, and, with the aid of very sharp scissors, proceeds to slice her mouth open from ear to ear. Not satisfied with that bit of torture, he taunts her by saying, “Who will think you’re pretty now?” before using the scissors to decapitate her and then killing himself. Thus, the legend Kuchisake-onna is born.
The spirit of the woman wanders the streets while wearing a surgical mask. When she spies her victim, she walks up to them and asks if they think she’s pretty. Before they are able to answer, she rips away the mask to reveal her disfigured face and asks, “Do you think I’m pretty now?” If the person answers in the negative, she removes their head with her scissors, If they say, “Yes”, she is so pleased that she uses the same scissors to make their smile just as pretty as hers. If you give a non-committal answer like, “You’re average looking,” she becomes confused long enough for you to attempt an escape.
This tale has been around for a very long time, and was made into a Japanese film titled “Carved” and also loosely included in “The Grudge”. The Slit Mouthed Woman, guaranteed to send a chill up your spine, especially if you see a lovely lady walking up to you with a surgical mask on. She might just be a doctor, a nurse, or someone trying to keep from getting sick. Then again, she may be something much deadlier.