From my field of study the antagonist, Sadako Yamamura is the celebrity of the Japanese horror franchise, Ringu. The first free films contain only representations of an evil Sada, capable of only inhibiting fear, destruction and death. However, the fourth and final instalment provides a prequel to the story of Sadako, therefore enabling the viewer to engage on a deeper level with this character that has been franchised and sensationalised in the previous films.
In tutorials we discussed the real face of celebrities or how they present their public self. I found the character of Sadako more interesting than any other celebrities, I decided to focus on her and the wave of popularity that hit after the franchise. I guess you find a public self in their representations outside of the fiction they’re cast in. Sadako’s character can now be seen in an array of television and online pranks.
Some of these pranks are quite generic or expected where they have an Sadako imitator standing in the hallway of an apartment block or even more terrifying, in the middle of a dark, quiet road where drivers are confronted with their worst late night fear. Others however, show Sadako, on the online video chat site, “omegle” slowly addressing the camera. Viewers are terrified and immediately switch to the next camera. However other’s that continue watching are eventually presented with a Sadako busting out some moves to Korean pop song, “Gangnam Style”.
Taking a character, famous for being the antagonist and creating a comedic element to a villain in the public eye, is popular in amongst Japanese television prank shows. After witnessing the fearful representation of Sadako in the Ringu series, I found it uncomfortably humorous watching her character in these prank shows. The white dress and long dark hair is always a frightening image especially since being pertained to Japanese ghost stories, I will never find peace when staring at Sadako. However, the adaptation of her in reality television through pranks, provides the consumer a laugh and a healthy scare.
Ringu, 1998, DVD, Toho Company LTD, Japan, Directed by Hideo Nakata