If you’re a true horror fan, at some point in your horror career you will run into J-Horror. Or Japanese Horror. Of course, Americans would have to can it and put the ‘J-Horror‘ label onto it, but remember, America is but a few hundred years old, at best, and cultures the world over have thousands, if not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years of experience in so called, horror.
The more Japanese Horror I watch the more I realize where the American horror greats get, or steal, their inspiration from.
One of the things that is critically annoying about the American version of The Ring is that you never get what Samara’s motivations, intent, or back story are. So, in a sense, the American version of The Ring makes no sense. But if you watch the original Japanese version of The Ring, you (I) finally realize where the true horror of the story is. And it’s ALL Samara, but you would never know this if you’ve only seen the American version of The Ring. When I finally got Samara’s story through watching the Japanese version the true chilling story finally came through, and only then does one understand the family part of the equation. I hope this piques your interest enough about the original Japanese version of The Ring that you go out and finally watch it. If not, let me tell you that Samara as a small child psychically killed a man that was making fun of her mom. Samara’s mom was a psychic and she did not know her daughter had inherited her talents, until that moment. Let that soak in for a second. I will say no more, just go watch the Japanese Ringu.
Uzumaki (Spiral) is a GREAT Lovecraftian story. It is the epitome of Cosmic Horror and I’m so glad that I finally got around to watching it because it re-invigorated my want of Japanese Horror and educated me on what real horror is all about. The simple filmography and whacky special effects tie into the story so well that you take it all in as part of the story. I can see a lot of Americans (I’m American) watching this and confusing it for some kind of horror comedy, but let me assure you, it is not. There are real societal themes of people and what they go through that really bring the horror. I just thoroughly enjoyed Uzumaki.
Howling Village – This was a fun Japanese movie to watch. Most Americans who watch this will be able to figure out what’s going within watching the first half of the movie, but only because of recurring themes possibly seen in American (or other) horror movies. I’m sure a lot of people will poo poo this one as being boring or even tropey, but I enjoyed it. I really enjoy how in Japanese horror they do ghosts. Not clear cut special effects eye popping ghosts, but more shifty and ephemeral and washed out, more like how one might imagine a ghost.
Noroi: The Curse – Now this is a truly GREAT Japanese horror movie I watched about 6-8 months ago and I even wrote a separate article on it. You can read that here.