Japanese horror: dead and alive
Kurosawa Kiyoshi participates in the film that celebrates the career of horror manga artist Umezu Kazuo. His Mushi tachi no ie (House of Bugs) seems to be the most interesting segment. Catch the trailer here. It is certainly the most adult (read: critically accessible) part, as the others include cannibalism and giant snakes. However, apparently no vengeful female ghosts. The set will be released on DVD in the US in early summer of this year.
There have been several manga based horror anthologies released in the states on DVD. The one I’ve seen was pretty poor. It was a made for TV affair, and though that doesn’t always signify wackness, (after all, the much lauded yet overrated JUON was initially a TV movie), it did in this case.
The J-horror boom of the late 90’s is pretty much dead creatively, and even if some critics are tired of the genre and it’s seemingly requisite tropes, fans aren’t, and the movies continue to be successful. Nicholas Rucka argues that the popularity of the genre has killed it, that as Hollywood sops up the rights to remake the classics from the era, studios and filmmakers make the same product over and over in a desperate attempt to attract some of that Hollywoof attention. That’s valid, though repetition and a desire to make a buck has wrested the creativity out of most genre films.
I’ll admit to being somewhat tired of J-horror, and I haven’t seen much lately, though only because of lack of time and opportunity. Still, I’m willing to give something that looks interesting a shot. Mushi tachi no ie certainly does, and the rest of the trailers reveal shorts with a certain camp quality like that of the vastly underrated Uzumaki.
PS to Mr Rucka and others; you miss the obvious reason for differences between J-horror and American films. Cremation. It’s why Japanese zombie flicks are often played for laughs. The idea of a dead body walking around is kinda funny when everyone is ashes.