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Why Are the New Japanese Horror Movies So Frightening?

Recently we've seen a lot of Japanese horror movies being released in America, such as The Grudge, The Ring, Audition (which is one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen), etc. I've been trying to figure out why these movies are so incredibly frightening, and I've come up with a few ideas.
The first is the fact that they're quite unique, especially when compared to the typical slasher horror movies that we make a lot of here. I mean, I certainly never would have come up with the idea of a girl in a well that comes out of the television screen. I think this uniqueness is what makes these movies so memorable, as well as so startling. We're expecting the ghosts to jump out and attack people, not to slowly crawl towards them out of a television.
The crawling aspects also ties into another idea that seemed prevalent in these new Japanese horror movies, and that idea is tension. If you've seen The Ring and Audition, you will understand what I mean by "tension." In Audition, much of the movie involves the creepy girl just standing in front of the camera, staring silently into it. This creates the effect that she is staring directly at the viewer, which creates tension because it generally makes people uncomfortable when people just stare at them, silently, intently. This tension also ties into the idea of patience, which I think is something that American movies tend to lack. The Japanese filmmaker are perfectly content with having a slow, uneasy build up instead of having lots of action and a fast moving plot. Lots of action doesn't always make a better movie.
Well those are just a few ideas that I have, feel free to disagree with me or even send me flames if you really want to.

Tonya
kazeldragon kazeldragon 21-25, F 12 Responses Jul 16, 2007

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What frightens you in these movies are projections of your own shadow self. I.e., if it weren't already you it would not have such emotional power.

how dare you... point out what makes those movies work LOL.



Even though I was not fond of The Ring, the Japense version Ringu, was excellent. Tension and suspense are what makes a horror movie work, not Gore, or over the top CGI.

Another factor in some Japanese and other Asian horror films is they go for isolation, in a sense that no matter where you are, you and it(the monster) are all alone, just the two of you. The tension between what is the norm and something that is monsterous Mono a Mono is terrifying. Have you seen Tetsuo the Iron man or the Japanese movie called House?

I think the reason J- Horror is so scary to us is because it's forighen to us. When we see something that is unknown we tend to get scared.

Japanese horror is very non linear so it kinda confuses you and it is very atmospheric so sometimes the scene it self is scary.

The reason why japanese horror is more frightening is because vengeful spirits in their culture don't have a rhyme or reason. They're just rage. Whereas in western culture vengeful spirits tend to only attack the ones who wronged them, there has to be a reason for everything.

ill have to check those out

I never really liked the Japanese stuff.Ilike "The Cat And The Canary(1927) Nosferatu(ca.1921 Germany)

Well, I believe that because they consider the other side a fact.They don't doubt about a afterlife, and k they personal tastes for violence, revenge and all human feelings are keep after dead .

I seen the ring and wondered first, why are japanese ghosts so much more violent and powerfull than westurn ghosts, second the girls body was taken from the well, now it will be put in a box buried underground so why should she feel gratitude for that, third she killed people through the t.v. why would she be more dangerous because she could leave the t.v.

its only been in the last sixty to ninety years that Western ghost stories, or maybe American Ghost stories would be more accurate, became so Blah, the old stories of the settlers and before were full of violent ghosts who were out for revenge. all the way up to the 1800's I think. check out the Bell witch story, not that lame movie, but the actual story. she was not a friendly ghost in the least.

I have to agree as well.

Suspense is a whole lot scarier than jump-inducing freak-outs.

I agree with you completely. Very good points.. ones I hadn't touhgt of before... very interesting.. very true... nice