Japanese Horror Films and their American Remakes
By Valerie Wee
Routledge – 2013 – 258 pages
The Ring (2002)—Hollywood’s remake of the Japanese cult success Ringu (1998)—marked the beginning of a significant trend in the late 1990s and early 2000s of American adaptations of Asian horror films. This book explores this complex process of adaptation, paying particular attention to the various transformations that occur when texts cross cultural boundaries. Through close readings of a range of Japanese horror films and their Hollywood remakes, this study addresses the social, cultural, aesthetic and generic features of each national cinema’s approach to and representation of horror, within the subgenre of the ghost story, tracing convergences and divergences in the films’ narrative trajectories, aesthetic style, thematic focus and ideological content. In comparing contemporary Japanese horror films with their American adaptations, this book advances existing studies of both the Japanese and American cinematic traditions, by:
The book will be of interest to scholars of film, media, and cultural studies.
'The American adaptation of the sensationally popular Japanese horror film Ringu (1998)--released in English as The Ring (2002)--started a trend of Hollywood remakes of Asian horror film. Wee (National Univ. of Singapore) uses this trend to analyze cross-cultural adaptation and intercultural influence between Hollywood's and Japan's representations of horror. Wee explores how the values and ideologies expressed in Japanese horror films are altered or rejected in the American adaptation--and how these changes reflect either differing or similar value systems and cultural beliefs. In the introduction and the first two of seven chapters, the author establishes historical context and provides an analytical framework for the text. Subsequent chapters focus on specific themes--visual aesthetics of horror; single mothers and abandoned daughters; apocalyptic visions; and (post)modern anxieties--contrasting a specific J-horror film with its American remake. The result of this type of analysis, according to Wee, is broader understanding not only of social anxieties of a specific period, as reflected in horror films, but also of shifts in a sociocultural environment over time. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.'
T S. Yamada, CHOICE
Introduction: The Horror, The Horror… 1.Haunting Specters: A History of Seeing Ghosts in Japanese and American Horror Films 2. Hollywood and Japan, Comparing Supernatural Constructions: Cultural Ideologies, Social Anxieties, and Aesthetic Tendencies 3.Terrifying Images: Visual Aesthetics and Ways of Seeing in Ringu and The Ring 4."Oh, Mother!": Single Mothers and Abandoned Daughters in Honoguarai mizu no soko kara and Dark Water 5. "Father Knows Best?" Patriarchal Anxieties and Familial Dysfunction in Ju-On and The Grudge 6. The End of the World as We Know It: Apocalyptic Visions in Kairo and Pulse 7. (Post-)Modern Anxieties, Techno-Horror, and Technophobia in Chakushin Ari and One Missed Call 8. Conclusion
Associate Professor Valerie Wee teaches film and media studies in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore.