Samuel & I are both dedicated horror film fans, and seeing as Japan has produced some of the best horror movies of the past couple of decades, what better way of celebrating this than a back-to-back Japanese horror film fest!
Here’s our top five Japanese horror films:
Five: Ring (リング) – Classic horror at its best! What’s not to love about an evil curse, a freaky girl with long hair & superpowers, and a single mum trying to outwit a spooky videotape. I’d also recommend reading the novel by Koji Suzuki. There was a sequel (Rasen) released at the same time, but in our opinion your time would be better spent watching Ring 2!
Four: Ju-on: The Grudge (呪怨) – More curses, gory murders and a very cute little boy. There’s actually a huge series of Ju-on films, seven in total I think. My favourite so far has to be Ju-on: The Grudge, the fourth instalment. Japan has a great tradition of folk tales centering on curses, and Ju-on takes that theme and adds urban alienation and social issues to create a wonderful combination of the old and new.
Three: One Missed Call (着信アリ – chyakushin ari) – The general premise behind OMC is that protagonists receive a phonecall from their own phone in the future, and in the resulting answerphone message hear their own death. We loved the take on modern communication and isolation, as well as the gory bits. Sales of the ringtone featured in the film went through the roof – what a great prank! Note: avoid the US remake at all costs!
Two: Spiral (うずまき – uzumaki) – Spiral is a fantastic surreal journey through the destruction of a small Japanese town, and it’s all due to a growing obsession with spirals. Stairs, clouds and even snails become a menace, and there’s a great scene with a washing machine! Look out for spirals in the background of a few shots, but be warned – you’ll start seeing them everywhere!
One: Pulse (回路 – kairo) – This is one of the creepiest films we’ve seen for a long time! The brilliant pacing adds to the slow build-up of horrifying events. There’s great effects – you’ll never look at a shadow in the same way ever again, I’m still a bit wary of going in to a room at dusk! If you only see one Japanese horror film this year, it has to be Pulse.
Tokyo Telephone’s Japanese horror turkeys: The Stranger (marebito), Spiral (rasen), One Missed Call 2, Suicide Club (jisatsu circle) – apart from the first scene!, Ring 0 The Birthday, and Ju-on: Girl in Black (kuroi shoujo).
Think we’ve missed out on a great film? Let us know!