Posted by: asianfilmreviews | February 22, 2009

Random thoughts on horror films


While watching Pulse 3 (which was one of the most boring, uninspiring films I’ve seen in a loooooooooong time) with a group of friends tonight, it got me thinking about the nature of horror films. First off, for the most part, Asia has collectively moved beyond the now stale images of long-haired little girls with marionette-like movements. The only thing keeping that alive is the direct-to-video market in the United States and these unwarranted remakes and inevitable sequels, like Disney used to do with their classic films until John Lasseter took over and demanded respect for the product. Nevermind that the  remake of the original Pulse (Kairo, 回路) completely distorted the intended meaning of director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (黒沢 清) masterful film, it speaks very bad of the horror industry in the U.S. when the only frightening films that exist in the public conscience are remakes and blatant ripoffs of Asian horror films and mainstream torture porn that has zero social value or noteworthy psychological subtext. But uninspiration flows both ways, as filmmakers in countries such as South Korea have begun a trend to make equally bad gornographic films such as Death Bell (2008, 고死: 피의 중간고사 ) and Bloody Reunion (2006, 스승의 은혜), both of which sacrifice character, convincing psychology, and drama for pointless gore. Don’t mistake these for underground gore-tastic films from Japan such as the Guinea Pig (ギニーピッグ) series. These are mainstream products. But contrary to what Derek Elley of Variety seems to imply, if the highlights of a film are the elaborate and gruesome deaths which characters must suffer, then said film is not really a film per se.

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