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karasu99
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"Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Sat 2 Jan 03:15post reply

I thought I would begin the new year with a request for guidance from everyone.

I've seen a few Japanese horror movies, Ringu being the most memorable (and most famous). I've seen a few others, some good, some bad, but I don't even know where to start to find the best ones.

For example: During Xmas week I traveled to see my family, and rented Rinne to watch on the flight there. It was... so-so. The conceit was interesting, as was the punchline, but it wasn't ever especially scary. Another well-reviewed film I've seen is Uzumaki, which while frightening was somewhat spoiled by the almost laughable special effects.

I should also note that I rarely enjoy recent western horror, mainly because of its large-scale transition in the last decade from fright-based and/or supernatural themes to films seemingly written and filmed with the intention of lovingly depicting scenes of torture (the Saw series being the most notable example). I'm not squeamish, I just don't care for watching movies about torture, and I'd rather be frightened than grossed out in any event.

What I'm really looking for is a film that's truly frightening, with the sort of nightmare imagery presented in Ringu, but without the trappings of modern western horror. And if possible, decent special effects rather than silly looking CG scenes of people being killed in a clothes washing machine. Anyone have any suggestions for my viewing pleasure?






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Variable Savior
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"Re(1):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Sat 2 Jan 10:14post reply

I've seen a ton of Asian horror movies - so much that it's kinda to the point where they just meld together for me. I don't know that I really found any of them particularly frightening but there are a few that were better than the rest. Unfortunately my memories of these films are spotty at best but I recall really enjoying the following:

- Kairo (Japanese): probably my favorite Asian horror movie. I honestly hated it the first time I saw it but the more I thought about it's direction the more I liked it. I don't know that it's as much scary as it is soul deadening (if that makes any sense). Avoid the American remake (Pulse) like the plague - it completely misses the point and is beyond terrible.

- Marebito (Japanese): Another odd film that's less frightening than disturbing and... weird. I rather liked this one too and spent a while considering it's various points

- Phone (Korean) and Ab-normal Beauty (Hong Kong): saw these both a loooong time ago so I can't provide specific points on either but I do recall rather enjoying both





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Ishmael
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"Re(2):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Sun 3 Jan 05:50post reply

This topic reminds me that I need to read Edogawa Rampo. I've seen several film adaptations of his work -such as Rampo, Rampo Noir, and the wonderfully named Horrors of Malformed Men- but I've never read the source material. The films alternate between being boring, disturbing, and just plain out there so it makes me curious what the original author was trying to convey.





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"Re(1):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Sun 3 Jan 18:43post reply

I really loved the japanese version of Pulse..even though the ending sucked and I couldn't make any sense of it as I was falling asleep..but the movie was really scary..at least that's how I felt.
I still have nightmares about it.





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nobinobita
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"Re(1):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Mon 4 Jan 19:29:post reply

quote:

I've seen a few Japanese horror movies, Ringu being the most memorable (and most famous). I've seen a few others, some good, some bad, but I don't even know where to start to find the best ones.



You might want to check out these films: Kwaidan, Jigoku and Gozu.

None of these are horror films exactly, but they may pique your interest. Kwaidan and Jigoku are real gems from the 60s, when Japanese studio system films were starting to get really bizarre. They are highly stylized and breathtakingly beautiful at times (especially if you are into East Asian paintings and theater/kabuki/chinese opera). The sets, costumes, cinematography and colors are tops. They might not scare you, but they are very moody. Quick word of warning, many people find Kwaidan to be exceptionally slow.

Gozu is a Takeshi Miike film from a few years back. It's not traditionally scary, but it is CREEPY AS HELL. It's one of his better looking movies and it maintains a very queer and unnerving atmosphere throughout. If you feel like watching something extremely surreal and eerie I suggest you go into Gozu cold without reading any story synopsis or reviews.





[this message was edited by nobinobita on Tue 5 Jan 08:59]

karasu99
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"Re(2):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 01:40post reply

Thanks, everyone, for your recommendations. I've had Pulse on my DVR for over a year now, so I think it will be good viewing this weekend, and a quick check of my local rental place's inventory shows that they have almost all of the films mentioned by everyone. The reason it's been hard for me to decide what to watch is that they not only have a Japanese film section-- they have an entire seven or eight shelves just devoted to Japanese horror. And a whole section for Japanese erotica, I should note.

Incidentally, Nobinobita, I've seen Kwaidan several times, and loved its pace and its beauty. In fact, it's probably one of my all-time favorite Japanese films, but honestly it's so beautiful that I have trouble counting it as a horror film-- it's more of a ghost movie. I'm going to focus on seeing Gozu, but I will avoid the temptation to read even a description of it, per your suggestion.

Also, on the subject of beauty in film, I should mention that while I really dislike Uzumaki and found Rinne to be unremarkable, their settings alone made them worth seeing-- I mean, that abandoned-looking coastal town in Uzumaki was breathtaking, and maybe it just drew my attention to the laughable special effects. And the early '70's era hotel in Rinne-- wow.

But I'm drifting off topic, aren't I?





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"Re(3):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 01:53post reply

So Kairo really is worth seeing? The string of bad American remakes of Asian horror films kind of put me off of a lot of these titles. Pulse was like being beaten over the head with a tire iron for what felt like an eternity. If Kristen Bell was not gorgeous it would have been impossible.

And right before that I tried watching The Eye a while ago, the original Korean version, but it had that weird soap opera-y shot-on-video look and it was freaking me out. I don't know if it's the movie in general or just the way I was seeing it presented. Almost picked up Uzumaki at the rental store a few weeks ago, and I think I may do so when I get back.

Nobi, your descriptions of Kwaidan and Jigoku are exciting! I will have to add them to the list as well!

Would we consider Tetsuo: The Iron Man horror? Or really upsetting art project, perhaps? That movie messed me up pretty bad the first time I saw it, but that probably has a little to do with the fact that I was 11. The third Tetsuo movie is coming this year! Exciting!





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"Re(3):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 04:27post reply

quote:
I've had Pulse on my DVR for over a year now, so I think it will be good viewing this weekend, ...



Just make sure it is not the remake.





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"Re(4):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 04:57:post reply

quote:

Would we consider Tetsuo: The Iron Man horror? Or really upsetting art project, perhaps? That movie messed me up pretty bad the first time I saw it, but that probably has a little to do with the fact that I was 11. The third Tetsuo movie is coming this year! Exciting!



I had the experience of watching the first black and white Tetsuo movie in an old school cinema. The movie itself is not meant to be an horror movie per se, the movie just attempts to show you how cool looking can be that your whole body is starting to mechanize, all of this with wonderful low budget effects. Everything in the movie is secondary, the plot, the character interactions, the comprehensiveness of the pacing; everything falls on it kneels just to show you the special effects. The 80s version kinda looses the feel, because it follows the same premise; but you can't really go "whooa" to the freakness of the special effects

On topic, you should stay the hell away from The Call... It doesn't matter which version.







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[this message was edited by Toxico on Wed 6 Jan 05:01]

Ishmael
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"Re(3):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 05:43:post reply

quote:
Thanks, everyone, for your recommendations. I've had Pulse on my DVR for over a year now, so I think it will be good viewing this weekend, and a quick check of my local rental place's inventory shows that they have almost all of the films mentioned by everyone. The reason it's been hard for me to decide what to watch is that they not only have a Japanese film section-- they have an entire seven or eight shelves just devoted to Japanese horror. And a whole section for Japanese erotica, I should note.


It sounds like you're suffering from an embarrassment of riches. While I'm sure there's a lot of good stuff in the horror section -and probably the erotica section, depending on what the store feels falls into that genre and what you feel like watching- trying to watch the store's entire stock wouldn't be the best way of finding the best material. I've been trying that method with my Netflix queue and while I've come across a number of gems I may have otherwise missed I've also watched more junk than I really want to think about.

You have probably already come across both of these films but I might as well add them to the thread.

Janghwa, Hongryeon / Tale of Two Sisters: The movie sometimes veered off into melodrama and the plot got a bit jumbled toward the end but I remember enjoying the way it updated Gothic horror to a modern setting and the sense of loss that permeated the film.

Honogurai mizu no soko kara / Dark Water: Hideo Nakata covers a lot of the same notes he hit in Ring but the film still stands on its own. Although it is not the major aspect of the work, Dark Water is also probably the most effective film about the horrors of bad rental property I've ever seen.

Oddly, both these films have had US remakes. The differences between the versions could make for some interesting viewing. Also, both of these films are good representations of the feminine perspective that ran through a number of the recent horror movies that came out after Ring.

EDIT:

quote:
I had the experience of watching the first black and white Tetsuo movie in an old school cinema. The movie itself is not meant to be an horror movie per se, the movie just attempts to show you how cool looking can be that your whole body is starting to mechanize, all of this with wonderful low budget effects. Everything in the movie is secondary, the plot, the character interactions, the comprehensiveness of the pacing; everything falls on it kneels just to show you the special effects. The 80s version kinda looses the feel, because it follows the same premise; but you can't really go "whooa" to the freakness of the special effects

I once met someone who felt that the first Tetsuo was all about growing up gay in Japan in the 1980's. That's as good an explanation as any, I suppose.





[this message was edited by Ishmael on Wed 6 Jan 05:48]

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"Re(4):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 06:38:post reply

quote:

I once met someone who felt that the first Tetsuo was all about growing up gay in Japan in the 1980's. That's as good an explanation as any, I suppose.



I wouldn't state it like that at all, also is quite possible that the movie would become much more awesome if that was the case. Slightly spoilerish, but in Tetsuo's defense, I can rightfully attest you that he does indeed shows some heterosexual tendencies in the movie (even through the whole plot is him having a fated encounter with a male, so that they can merge together), Tetsuo actually drills a girl through the course of the movie. He does this in the exact sense that you are thinking and with an actual drill placed in that censorable place.







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[this message was edited by Toxico on Wed 6 Jan 06:40]

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"Re(5):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Wed 6 Jan 09:22post reply

I don't know how Kairo would be for someone who's already seen the bastardized Pulse. My own experience was that Kairo took some time to grow on me so I'd think that being poisoned by Pulse beforehand would just make it that much harder to appreciate.

Moral of this story is - stay away from Pulse; it's what the video in Ringu should have been! Kristen Bell is tasty though...

Ahhh... Uzumaki. I honestly didn't like it but I have to admit being a huge fan of it's little trappings/details (i.e. the little spirals you can spot in the backgrounds from time to time). Maybe I need help...





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karasu99
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"Re(6):Japanese horror films anyone?" , posted Thu 14 Jan 04:51post reply

Well, I finally finished watching Kairo-- and it was really, really good. Exactly what I had been looking for, as a matter or fact. So I guess next it's... I don't know. I guess I'll go see what looks good out of the recommendations.