Thursday, June 23, 2011

J(apanese)/K(orean) Horror vs American Horror Pt.1

Continuing from the previous post, one of Asian horror's best features is the reliance on generating actual fear and dread, whereas American films usually go for tension (which they mistake for fear) and shock (also 'fear'). This discrepancy difference (^ヮ^;;)7 becomes very easy to spot when you compare the shitty remakes with the originals. Let's run through a non-exhaustive list from the last decade shall we?

Ringu [1998] ==>> The Ring [2002]
Kairo [2001] ==>>Pulse [2005]
Dark Water [2002] ==>> Same name [2005]
Ju-on: The Grudge [2003] ==>>The Grudge [2004] This one is interesting in that the director for the original, Takashi Miike, also directed the remake.
One Missed Call [2004] ==>> Same name [2008]

As you can see, the 2000s saw a prodigious number of hit Asian horror films ported over, fucked up altered to fit American tastes and shipped out. Throughout the 90s, slasher/gore films dominated the American horror scene and I believe the attraction to these Asian ones came as a reaction to that. Hollywood executives saw that there was something different about them from the stuff they had been pumping out. What the scriptwriters seemed to have missed when they wrote the remakes was that what made these films different was what wasn't there. Shocks and blood. Not everyone missed out on these points. The Blair Witch Project [1999] and The Others [2001] both utilized the minimalist approach and, not coincidentally, I liked both those films (and mentioned them in my last post as examples of good American horror movies). On a side note I will point out that the minimalist approach is not a magic key into my treasure box of loved horror movies. Paranormal Activity [2009], despite receiving good reviews and running with the minimalist approach, was nothing special to me. I believe it would have been nothing special to the majority of the movie-going public too if they watched more Asian horror cinema like me. I will tip my hat to the series for showing Hollywood how effective 'less' can be. No wait, let me say it in a way that will make them ACTUALLY care. I thank Paranormal Activity for showing Hollywood how PROFITABLE the minimalist approach can be. There, that should do it. Almost $200 million on a budget of $15 000 if I recall?

That was quite a bit of reading so I'll split this post into two parts for you tl;dr types. How accommodating and understanding I am! (and humble!) ╮( ̄ヮ ̄)╭