Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction, this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
1998’s Japanese horror cultural phenomenon Ringu was so creepy it created a sensation. Influential on the horror genre in general, J-Horror became mainstream and brought its unique brand of terror to the masses. What is it about Ringu? Is it the blurred faces in photos? The odd sequence of dreamlike images in a video? Or is the girl crawling out of the well and out of the television? Hideo Nakata directs this week’s strange and fantastic tale Ring, otherwise known as the Ring, and Ringu.
Successful journalist Reiko Asakawa’s (Nanako Matsushima) niece mysteriously and suddenly dies. After speaking with her niece’s friends she finds out that she watched a strange video that was rumored to be cursed. After seven days of the initial viewing, a phone will ring and the viewer will die. Reiko cannot dismiss these rumors as superstition so she watches the video. She receives an ominous phone call and realizes that her days might be numbered. This is also exacerbated by the fact that her son has watched the video. Reiko seeks out the help of her ex husband, Ryûji (Hiroyuki Sanada), a professor who happens to be psychic.
What makes Ringu so terrifying? Haven’t we all tempted this kind of fate, chanted “Bloody Mary” in the mirror, whistled past a graveyard? We have all, at one time or another, been the teenagers who watched the video. The time on the curse also adds a level of intrigue. Bloody Mary is supposed to jump out at you once you say her name three times. If she doesn’t you and your friends can share an uneasy laugh about how stupid you all are and then go on your merry way. The cursed video in Ringu makes you wait seven days for a payoff. You forget about the silliness of your occult experiment, live your life, and then the dreaded payoff comes for you.
Ringu is not your run of the mill horror film. Loaded with mysterious images, it is up to the viewer to connect the story of the video along with Reiko. And since you watched the video that she watched, does that mean your phone will ring once the movie ends? Watch this week’s strange and fantastic tale sitting on the floor, really close to the tv screen and wait for the ending.
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