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Japanese Horror Films Keep Evolving

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Hane Kan in the horror film “Reiteki Borisheviki” (Occult Bolshevism)

Katsuo Kokaji writes: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of “Ring,” perhaps the most famous work of J-horror — contemporary Japanese horror movies — thanks to the scene in which the ghost Sadako crawls out from a TV screen.

J-horror and its offshoots are still scaring people, with two new films currently running: “Rings” (Japan title: The Ring/ Rebirth), the latest film in the “Ring”-inspired Hollywood series, and “Reiteki Borisheviki” (Occult Bolshevism), directed by Hiroshi Takahashi, who wrote the script for the 1998 blockbuster.

Pundits say J-horror dates back to works such as “Jaganrei” (1988), directed by Teruyoshi Ishii, and “Hontoni Atta Kowai Hanashi” (Scary True Stories), a 1991 film by Norio Tsuruta. These films used a documentary-like style with the so-called ghost-picture effect — a realistic, subdued depiction of horror, like you’re looking at a photo that vaguely shows an unidentified being. They have been an inspiration to filmmakers in other countries as well.

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Samara emerges from a flat-screen TV in “Rings.”

“Ring,” directed by Hideo Nakata, was remade in the United States as “The Ring” (2002), which also became a big hit. These successes led to J-horrordirectors being invited to work on foreign films, and J-horror taking the world by storm. Nakata directed “The Ring Two” (2005), the second Hollywood film inspired by his work. Takashi Shimizu, who directed “Ju-on” (2003), became the first Japanese director to reach No. 1 at the U.S. box office with “The Grudge” (2005), the Hollywood version of his film.

Masayuki Ochiai, who directed “Kansen” (Infection) in 2004, played his part in J-horror’s success with “Shutter” (2008) in Hollywood, while Kiyoshi Kurosawa of “Kairo” (2001) created “Daguerrotype” (2016) with the help of French and Belgian capital.

Narrative key

Takahashi came across the title of his latest work, “Reiteki Borisheviki,” more than 20 years ago when he read an interview of Sugen Takeda, a researcher of Shinto spiritualism. The Bolsheviks are, of course, the revolutionary faction led by Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin at the time of the Russian Revolution … (read more)

via The Japan News

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