When most people think of Japan they think of Hello Kitty and green tea. What they should be thinking about is a country that makes the most disturbing horror films known to man. Quite possibly in reaction to their culture of cuteness, Japanese directors think up horrors so disturbing to audiences that they immediately get remade in the USA. Usually starring someone blond. And hot.
As it is Halloween, and everyone needs a good scare, I’ve compiled a list of the most horrific Japanese films I could think of. Films so horrible that I have to hide their DVDs behind other DVDs because I don’t want my scare away dates.
5. Battle Royale
The story goes like this. Japanese society has broken down due to youth violence. The solution to inspire the kids is to randomly select a class full of students and make them fight to the death on a deserted island. Oh, and they have explosive collars around their necks in case they try to run away. Oddly this film wasn’t immediately picked up in the West and remade, though a remake has been “in the works” since 2006. I, for one, would gladly pay $9 to see the cast of High School Musical try to kill themselves. I wouldn’t even mind if they sang while doing it.
4. Ichi the Killer
How could I explain a film about an insane killer who goes around cutting apart yakuza and has some serious sexual problems. I think I’ll let wikipedia explain it for me:
Being a confused and apparently psychotic individual who murdered his own parents, he was adopted and so manipulated by Jijii as to confuse sexual arousal with homicidal lust; this was accomplished by creating a false memory of witnessing a rape in high school, which he felt ashamed for wanting to participate in rather than stop. It is later implied that Karen was also a victim of this psychological manipulation, her role in the false memory being that of the actual rape victim.
If that isn’t reason enough to see the film, I don’t know what is.
3. Dark Water
Not to be mistaken with the US remake that next to no one saw. A mother and child move into a run down Japanese apartment that for some reason has water everywhere. Sure enough its due to an angry spirit who just won’t leave them alone. While rather scary overall, it’s the haunting visuals of the apartment and Japan that really set in. Even worse, she probably ended up paying $800 a month for that horrible apartment as well. Japanese housing costs, the real horror story.
The US version of “The Ring” was really well done, but something about the Japanese version is just a bit more freaky. Maybe it’s the lower quality of production, or the fact that Japanese children are naturally scary, or even lack of a coherent plot. I don’t really know. What I do know is that it sends a shiver down my spine.
1. Ju-on: The Grudge
My number one pick for freaky Japanese movies is Ju-on. You might remember its Western remake named The Grudge that featured a freaked out Sarah Michelle Gellar running around Tokyo speaking Japanese. The original and the remake have the exact same plot, same house and same director. The plot revolves around an evil house, a social worker, and a little freaky kid. If you get lost in the very confusing plot don’t worry, you’re not the only one. What you should do is just sit back, relax and watch a little Japanese kid slowly kill everyone you like in the film. Then if you’re bored after, watch the remake and imagine Buffy being driven insane by an evil Japanese kid. It’s quite funny that way.
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