Sunday, January 27, 2008

Asian Horror Movies

For a brief period I loved both Asian horror movies and their American remakes. After a while, they started appearing pretty derivative.

Terrence Rafferty in "Screams in Asia Echo in Hollywood":

"The original “Ringu,” based on a novel by Koji Suzuki and directed by Hideo Nakata, was so popular in Asia that it spawned two sequels and a prequel within two years and, over the next decade, dozens of imitations: quiet, slow-paced, utterly solemn ghost stories in which young women (or schoolgirls) are repeatedly menaced by some malevolent supernatural entity, usually the spirit of a pale, longhaired woman who’s extremely annoyed about having expired."

Yep. When I first saw that movie (in the form of the American The Ring), it creeped me out bad. After a while, realizing it was mostly all the same movie, I stopped being creeped out and started being bored.

But Rafferty hits on the reason these films can continue to work:

"And horror is by its nature a good deal friendlier to cross-cultural transplantation than most movie genres, because fear is universal in a way that, say, a sense of humor is not: what we dread is far less socially determined than what we laugh at."

And that's great, but frankly, I'm not sure I've seen a good horror movie in at least a year, perhaps closer to three. Or perhaps I'm at the point where fear for my child, my mortgage, my health, and everything else that comes with responsible adulthood has pushed fear of ghosts to the margins.

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