In preparation for my final project I decided to watch the American version of The Ring for the first time since I was 15, you know, to get a feel of what I’m getting myself into. All I can say is, that was disappointing. This made me happy that I was advised to analyse the Japanese version of the film only, and not analyse the American take on the film. I just hope that the Japanese version is a whole lot scarier, or at least has a better plot than its American counterpart.
As bad as some of the Western horror movies are (yes I’m looking you Ring and Ring 2), I can certainly see the appeal of the horror genre. They have a way of keeping their audience in suspense waiting for that jump scare that inevitably makes them jump and yell “holy shit”, however, most of them are labelled with clichés as there are always certain stereotypes planted in every horror movie to come out of America. Jumping out and making excessive sequels to horror movies as also given the genre a bad name, as franchises like Friday the 13th and nightmare on Elm Street going on and on for decades getting to the point where they are almost becoming comical.
Looking across at Japanese horror movies, they have become more popular over time, which has lead to some western audiences to want darker and bloodier movies made from Japan, successes of Japanese horror movies include Ringu, the Grudge and One missed call. Japanese horror movies have drawn success in the past by using children as antagonists, as opposed to many American horror movies that use adults or late teenagers as the villains in their movies, which can work, it originally worked with movies such as scream and the first batch of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm street movies. But Japanese horror movies go a different way as people don’t often see children as being capable of doing such horrible acts to people, even if they are possessed, which is often the case in Japanese Horror movies.
Another drawing in factor for Japanese Horror movies is the use of teenage girls as the protagonists or victims for their story. The use of teenage girls has supposedly had a drop in the need for having gory movies as opposed to American Horror, which are often gore fest slash films (Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre for example). Japan has found an effective way to both scare their audience and not bring their more squeamish viewers to being uncomfortable and enjoy the film at the same time. Again, the Japanese use of possessing a young person in their movies is often an effective use of scaring the crap out of their audience, mainly because it’s an unexpected turn, and people don’t often like seeing bad things happen to children or teenage girls in movies, unless it’s chucky (that little bastard still creeps me out).
Reading more into the two cultures and their horror movies I didn’t actually know that the influence on each other was as big as it is. The influence isn’t just based into horror movies, it stretches out to movie franchises such as Godzilla (Japans were better) and anime and cartoons being released in Japanese and then being dubbed at a later date into English. Good examples of the influences is the success that Dragon Ball series has had, it was immensely popular in Japan and America and still is today with Dragon Ball Super (and completely ignoring that god awful Dragon Ball GT).
For my final project I have decided on doing a podcast, they’re easier to manage than recording and editing a video then waiting for it to upload. With doing a podcast it would be easier to include sound clips of the movie and certain sounds and worry less about copyright issues. The only issue I see at the moment is that it may be hard to provide written evidence of any further research I want to do.
So far for this project, I have heard that American versions of horror movies are like most tv show or movie adaptions of books, as in they are terrible and probably should be done, and after watching the American make of The Ring, so far that statement is true, but I’m more curious to dive into Japanese Horror movies. Further research into the topic has lead me to believe that Japanese horror movies aren’t gore and stereotype filled messes that the American horror genre are (hopefully that fixes itself one day), which is also a big selling point, as I don’t have any experience with demonic possession movies (which excites me a little bit), and am interested to see if there are any Japanese horror movie stereotypes that I can find.