Synopses & Reviews
Since Japanese horror sensations The Ring and Audition first terrified Western audiences at the turn of the millennium, there's been a growing appreciation of Asia as the hotbed of the world's best horror movies. Over the last decade, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong have all produced a steady stream of stylish supernatural thrillers and psychological chillers that have set new benchmarks for cinematic scares. Hollywood soon followed suit, producing high-profile remakes of films such as The Ring, Dark Water, The Grudge, and The Eye. With scores of Asian horror films now available to Western audiences, this guide helps viewers navigate the eclectic mix of vengeful spooks, yakuza zombies, feuding warlocks, and devilish dumplings, discussing the grand themes of Asian horror cinema and the distinctive national histories that give the films their special resonance. Tracing the long and noble tradition of horror stories in eastern cultures, it also delves into some of the folktales that have influenced this latest wave of shockers, paying tribute to classic Asian ghost films throughout the ages.
"This survey of Asian horror movies is unlikely to work either for the casual filmgoer or the devoted fan. Orotund pronouncements ('Godzilla demonstrates that a giant monster movie is one of the most effective ways of dramatizing social, political and ecological crises') are coupled with sketchy summaries of dozens of movies from the last 50 years and uneven commentary. While Richards clearly has an exhaustive knowledge of his subject matter, his expertise shines through most clearly in an introductory chapter about the view of supernatural forces in Eastern culture that manages to convey a lot of useful information in just four pages. Readers unfamiliar with the films discussed are likely to find too little information about their plots to make an intelligent decision about whether they are worth their while, and his 'verdicts' ('Splatter hounds have a host of creatively executed gougings, garrottings, impalements and decapitations to enjoy') aren't sophisticated or detailed enough. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Andy Richards is a freelance film journalist and television producer who has written for the DVD Stack, Filmfour.com, the Observer, Sight & Sound, Time Out, and Uncut.