J-horror Inquirer article

M Arnold ma_iku
Fri Jun 9 12:59:24 EDT 2006

I guess I'm one of the few who thought the U.S. remake of "Ring" was scarier 
than the original!

We should remember that Asian horror isn't all that Hollywood is remaking 
these days. "The Omen" just opened here in Tokyo, and in recent years I 
remember hearing about new versions of "The Amityville Horror," "Texas 
Chainsaw Massacre", "The Hills Are Alive", "When a Stranger Calls", and "The 
Fog" to name a few. I think remakes of "Evil Dead", "The Fly", and "Sisters" 
are in the works, and as always there are a number of spin-offs and sequels 
of older films as well. "The Mangler Reborn"?! Is it possible that Hollywood 
is remaking more U.S. horror movies than J (/K/T/C...) -horror movies?

>From what I've seen, scary movies (which may or may not fit within this 
'Euro-American horror genre') are enjoying a minor renaissance that is by no 
means limited to post-Chainsaw Hollywood remakes or the letter J. I've seen 
several films recently that are very difficult to forget: Brad Anderson's 
"Session 9" and his Spanish-produced "The Machinist", the Spanish-U.S. 
coproduction "Darkness", "The Descent" (U.K.), "The Dark" (Germany/U.K.), 
"The Dark Hours" (Canada) . . . with titles like that it's hard to remember 
which is which, but they are all surprisingly scary, often dealing with a 
theme that (for North America and Europe at least) seems to be barely 
clawing its way out of the graveyard of the mainstream news media--guilt. 
Even the Tarantino-endorsed "Hostel" is somewhat provocative in this sense, 
although it does lean on more conventional national (and national horror 
movie) stereotypes as it goes along.

By the way, I was able to see the Miike episode of "Masters of Horror" 
recently and I wasn't particularly impressed. The theme of abortion may have 
set off some red lights in the U.S., but otherwise (to this horror fan at 
least) the episode just wasn't very engaging. With a cast of mostly 
non-English speakers and a script that was mostly in English, there were 
parts where I had a hard time understanding what the characters were saying. 
I wonder if the less controversial problem of language may have played a 
role in the episode's fate on Showtime.

Some of the other episodes were very good though. John Carpenter's 
"Cigarette Burns" was entrancing.

From: "J.sharp" <j.sharp at hpo.net>
> Kurosawa has very eclectic viewing habits for example, and I know that he 
> is
> as big a fan of Italian gothic films by the likes of Mario Bava as he is 
> of
> the work of Jean-Luc Godard, and he certainly watches a lot of American
> horror too.

In Kurosawa's book on horror films from a few years back he lists dozens of 
the scary movies that left an impression on him--American and European as 
well as Japanese.

> With EVIL DEAD TRAP perhaps best representing this trend,

I always wondered how Tamura Masaki got involved in this film. This isn't 
the only 'horror' movie he photographed, is it?

I'll end with something I read in Eric Cazdyn's 2000 essay on 
Representation, Reality Culture, and Global Capitalism last night:

". . . transnational corporatism can more successfully and secretly 
consolidate its power by hiding behind the face of the nation-state. In 
short, national narrative and identities are some of the most profitable 
commodities transnational corporations sell."

Michael Arnold 

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