20 Facts About Ringu/The Ring

 

The patrons of the Tyneside Cinema voted the original Japanese version of The Ring (リング) (which from this point on will be referred to as “Ringu” for ease”) as the North East’s favourite scary movie. Which is rather nice to hear that there is such demand for Japanese films at Halloween, we covered some Japanese films to get you in the Halloween mood in a previous article and one of our recommendations was Ringu. In order to get you in the mood for the Tyneside’s screening we present Geordie Japan’s 20 facts about Ringu to get you up to speed for Monday.

 

  1. Ringu is based on a book of the same name by Koji Suzuki (鈴木光司) in 1991, Suzuki has also written all of the sequels. The officially released books are : Ring (1991), Spiral (1995), Loop (1998), The Birthday (1999) and S (2012)
  2. Suzuki latest novel in the series is titled ‘S’ and reportedly features the video being uploaded to the internet and the curse travelling via cloud computing.
  3. Suzuki has drawn comparisons to Steven King due to his popularity in Japan with Ringu, Dark Water and other terrifying novels.
  4. It is a little known fact that the first adaptation of Ringu was in 1995, this was a television movie named Ringu: Kanzenban (リング 完全版) which literally means Ring: Complete Edition.
  5. The original novel was once again turned into a feature film in 1998 called Ringu by Hideo Nakata (中田 秀夫).  This is the more famous adaptation of Susuki’s book.
  6. Ringu was released in tandem with an adaptation of the sequel novel Spiral in a ploy to generate more revenue. This film was made by Jōji Iida (飯田譲治) and is often referred to as the ‘forgotten sequel’ due to the fact that it bombed because of the success of Ringu. Its events are ignored by later Ringu films.
  7. Ringu was remade in Hollywood as The Ring in 2002 by Gore Verbinski starring Naomi Watts. The film went on to have one sequel.
  8. Hideo Nakata made his English language debut with The Ring Two, a sequel to the remake of his original film.
  9. While The Ring is the most famous remake of Ringu it is not the first. Just one year after Ringus release it was remade in South Korea as The Ring Virus (1999).
  10. In total there have been 9 official films (6 Japanese, 3 remakes/spin offs), 2 television series, 2 video games and one short film in the Ringu series.
  11. The latest film in the Ringu franchise was Sadako 3D. The film has yet to be given a UK release and sadly a cinematic release seems unlikely, a dvd release is expected at some point.
  12. When Sadako 3D was released in Japan last year the country went Ringu crazy and some of the more unusual marketing tactics included unleashing hundreds of Sadako’s in Tokyo, driving a giant Sadako around the capital and having Sadako throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. You can watch all this insanity here.
  13. According to a recent survey by Oricon Ringu is still considered to be the scariest Japanese film ever
  14. Ringu is also the highest grossing horror film ever in Japan
  15. When the film was released on VHS in England in 2001 the back of the box was labelled with a disclaimer stating the distributor was not responsible “for any injuries or fatalities that may occur during or after the viewing of this videocassette.”
  16. Sadako may seem to Westerners like a novel and original idea but in fact she is actually a very common ghost of Japanese horror tales. She is an Onryō, a vengeful spirit, often represented in a white burial kimono, white and indigo face paint and having unkempt long dark hair. Onryō are usually women and commonly returning from the dead to exact vengeance on those who have wronged them in life.
  17. Sadako was played by Kabuki theatre actress Rie Inou, to achieve her jerky movements she was shot walking backwards and then the film was reversed, giving Sadako her trademark freaky walk.
  18. The iconic shot of Sadako’s eye was not actually Rie Inou’s eye but a male crew members!
  19. A series of Manga novels has also been released in Japan based on the franchise
  20. Scarily the tale is inspired by real events. You can read about them here, however this page contains spoilers for Ringu.

 

The Tyneside Cinema will play Ringu at 6pm on the Wednesay  31 October 2012. Details here.

 

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Film: The Ring

 

THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED

 

Film: The Ring (Ringu)  (リング)

When: Wednesday 31st October, 18:00pm

Where: Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/the-ring

 

The votes for the North East’s favorite scary movie are in… and happily for us The Ring got the most votes!

 

The Ring is the film that kicked off the J-Horror wave of the late 90s – early 2000s. After wowing critics at film festivals the film was released in the West by Tartan Asia Extreme and became a cult classic in no time at all due to its wildly original take on the horror genre (to Western horror fans that is). In 2002 a remake followed which only brought the films notoriety to a wider audience. On the back of The Ring’s success countless Ring inspired films were made, other J-horror films were imported and Hollywood remade every Asian horror movie the could (usually with disastrous results). The Ring is a true modern horror classic and is required viewing for anyone wanting a scare this Halloween!

 

Reiko Asakawa is a young journalist with a divorced husband, Ryuji, and a son, Yoichi. Her niece, Tomoko, was recently found dead with a look of pure shock embedded in her face as if something scared her to death. Upon learning that her niece’s three friends died at the same time, too, and hearing about a disturbing videotape that is said to kill you seven days after watching it, Reiko comes into the possession of that same tape. Now, as time grows short, Reiko and Ryuji race to save their lives from impending doom and discover what the tape has to do with a tragedy-stricken volcanic island and a very strange little girl named Sadako …  (summary provided by IMDB)

 

 

Japanese Horror Films

 
 
Being October, and just over a week away from Halloween you’re probably wanting to get in the Halloween mood, and seeing as you are visiting this site you most likely like Japanese things, so why not combine the two with a good old scare-fest of Japanese films to chill you to your core!

Please note that this is not intended to be a definitive list of any kind, merely some suggestions. Also ‘horror’ is a rather loose genre, some films here may not be simply regarded as horror films but all contain strong elements of horror.

For those who want classic horror

Ugetsu Monogatari

 Ugetsu Monogatari (雨月物語)

After a raid on their village, Genjuro and Tobei move their families and pot making business to the city. The city is not kind to them and they send their wives home promising to return home with money soon…but who is the mysterious Lady Wakasa and why is she so interested in Genjuro’s pots…

1953, Dir. Kemji Mozoguchi (溝口 健二) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Kwaidan  (怪談)

Made up of four chilling stories: ‘Black Hair’ in which a man returns to his ex-wife after leaving his new lover only to find something is very different with her. ‘The Woman and The Snow’ in which a young man is saved from a snowstorm by a spirit but he can never tell anyone about it…until one day he does. ‘ Hoichi the Earless’ in which a blind musician is slowly having his life force sucked away by ghosts & ‘In a Cup of Tea’ in which a samurai is haunted by the spirit of a dead samurai.. 

1964, Dir. Masaki Kobayashi (小林 正樹) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Onibaba (鬼婆)

In 14th century Japan a civil war wages, a mother and daughter do their best to survive and prey on hapless samurai, killing them and selling their armor for money. One day a friend of one of these samurai turns up and the women learn what has become of him…

1964, Dir. Kaneto Shindo (新藤 兼人) — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who want films from the J-Horror boom

Ringu

Ringu (リング)

A reporter begins investigating an urban legend of a cursed video tape. She quickly finds herself in possession of the tape but her young son watches it first, now she must race against time to save his life… 

1998, Dir. Hideo Nakata (中田 秀夫) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Audition (オーディション)

At the encouragement of his family and friends Ayoama begins to search for a new wife years after being widowed. His friend suggests setting up a fake movie audition to meet women and Ayoama falls for a beautiful ex-ballerina named Asami, on the surface she appears to be the perfect woman… (Warning: The DVD cover contains a big spoiler for the film, try to avoid it)

1998, Dir. Takashi Miike (三池 崇史) — Trailer (Spoilers!) — Buy Here.

 

Exte: Hair Extensions (エクステ)

A man obsessed with hair steals the hair from a newly killed woman and adds it to his collection,he sells parts of the hair to hair salons to be used as extensions, only this hair starts possessing women, driving them insane or worse… 

2007, Dir. Sion Sono (園 子温) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

For those who want contemporary horror

Confessions

 

Confessions (告白)

A class of high school students hold a dark secret relating to their former teacher and a series of events that shocked the school… One of the most stylish films ever made.

2010, Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima (中島哲也) — Trailer (Spoilers!) — Buy Here.

 

Cold Fish (冷たい熱帯魚)

When a man’s teenage daughter is caught stealing she is offered a job in a fish store to set her straight. The man soon discovers that the owners of the fish store have a dark secret however…

2010, Dir. Sion Sono (園 子温) — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who want anime horror

Vampire Hunter D

 

Vampire Hunter D (吸血鬼バンパイアハンターD)

In a strange future time the world is ruled by supernatural forces, a young girl requests the help of the mysterious ‘D’ to hunt down the vampire who bit her in order to save her from becoming one of the creatures… 

1989, Dir. Toyoo Ashida (芦田 豊雄) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Perfect Blue (パーフェクトブルー)

A retired pop singer turned actress’s sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

1997, Dir. Satoshi Kon (今 敏) — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who don’t want subtitles 

(A selection of the better American Remakes)

The Grudge

The Grudge

The closest thing to watching the Japanese original, made by the same director with the same vision. An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.

2004, Dir. Takashi Shimizu (清水 崇) — Trailer Buy Here.

 

The Ring

A fairly faithful remake of the original. A young journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it, now she must race against time to stop the tape’s effects.

2002, Dir. Gore Verbinski — Trailer Buy Here.

 

Dark Water

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

2005, Dir. Walter Salles  — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who want something unique

Shirome

Shirome  (シロメ)

The  real life J-pop band ‘Momoiro Clover‘ are the victims of this horror mockumentary in which the girls are forces to investigate a haunted school for a supposed Japanese television series. In the haunted house the girls hope (or rather don’t hope) to find Shirome, a spirit that can grant wishes, but only if the person asking completely believes in the spirit… This is not available on DVD in the UK, the full movie is available below from youtube. Please not that we are not hosting any content and do not endorse piracy.

2010, Dir. Kōji Shiraishi (白石晃士) — Watch the full movie here

 

Uzumaki/Spiral  (うずまき)

After coming home to find her father obsessively staring at a snail Kirie notices the whole town appears to slowly becoming obsessed in the same way with the shape of a spiral and begin turning into spiral’s themselves. Totally bonkers and more than a little scary.

2000, Dir. ‘Higuchinsky’ — TrailerBuy Here.

 

House  (ハウス)

When Oshare finds out that her Father’s girlfriend is joining them on their summer trip, she and her friends decide to go to her aunt’s farmhouse instead. From the moment they arrive, strange things begin to happen and the girls slowly begin to realize Oshare’s Aunt may not have their best interest in mind. A cult classic that has to be seen to be believed!

1977 Dir. Nobuhikio Obayashi  (大林 宣彦) — TrailerBuy Here.  

 

For those who want something not scary

Happiness of the Katakuris

The Happiness of The Katakuris  (カタクリ家の幸福)

A family moves to the country to run a rustic mountain inn when, to their horror, the customers begin befalling sudden and unlikely fates. An utterly entertaining film that smashes horror, musicals, comedies, mysteries, angry volcanos, a charismatic dog and a Japanese man who claims to be a member of the British royal family… 

2001 Dir. Takashi Miike  (三池 崇史) — Trailer Buy Here.  

 So there you go, I hope that has given you some insperation for some Japanese Halloween scare-fests!

 

Want to recommend a Japanese scary movie to other users? Leave a comment below!  
 

Do They Celebrate Halloween In Japan?

 

It’s October! The month of spooks and scares, all hallows eve approaches and all over the world children prepare to go trick or treating dressed as whatever takes their fancy (I was a ninja turtle I seem to remember). But the question on everyone’s lips is… do they celebrate Halloween in Japan?

 

Idol band AKB48 hawking Halloween costumes

The answer is yes…and no. Halloween is a relatively recent concept in Japan that has slowly been working its way into the mainstream for many years now. A celebration that was once relegated to Tokyo Disneyland with their annual Halloween parade has been gradually leaking out into the rest of Japan since the late 80s. Now most major cities in Japan have some form of Halloween parade, highlighted by the Kawasaki Halloween Parade and the ‘Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade’ in Harajuku, Tokyo. However Japan has plenty of its own festivals, including ones honouring the dead such as Obon, and as a result Halloween is more of a co-opted Western festival rather than a national event. Few Japanese know of the actual origins of the holiday and only know it from the mass of American pop culture that arrives on Japans shores by the day.

 

As a result Halloween in Japan in recent years has become a marketing goldmine, with pumpkins, candy and Halloween decorations being sold by the bucket full. This would make you think that Japan was celebrating Halloween en masse, but that’s not really the case it seems. As one Japanese friend described to me when I was researching this article “We celebrate Halloween, but not so much”. The parades are there, the decorations are up, the costumes are worn if you go to the right places and pumpkins are carved but the majority of the population outside of the major cities are don’t partake in any Halloween activities. Trick or treating is practically unheard of in Japan too for the most part, one area that is on the rise though is dressing up as Japan’s youth is seeing a rise in cosplaying for Halloween, however cosplaying is on the rise year-round, so maybe it’s just another excuse to do it!

 

Sadako, an Onryō (怨霊) spirit as portrayed in The Ring.

It’s not that Japan doesn’t like scares, Japanese culture has a long history of horror starting with Kaidan (怪談), traditional supernatural tales often associated with the Edo period. These Kaidan tales were told either through storytelling, Kabuki and Noh theatre, books and later films. Nowadays everyone all over world is familiar with J-Horror introduced to the West in the late 90’s with the festival appearances or The Ring and Audition, a plethora of other J-Horror films soon flooded the Western market place and it seemed like a different English language remake was due every other week. Let’s not forget either that Japan popularised the survival horror video game genre with the debut of Resident Evil (coincidentally the rather terrible Resident Evil films do better in Japan than in any other market in the world) and Silent Hill amongst others. So it’s not that Japanese culture is adverse to the concept behind the holiday, it’s just that it hasn’t quite caught-on on a national scale yet.

 

To answer the question then, does Japan celebrate Halloween, the answer has to be yes but just not on the national scale that we do here in the UK or that other countries do. One thing is for sure though, Halloween is increasing every year in Japan and looking at what they already do to celebrate it…the future is sure to be packed with scares.
Expect more Halloween articles this month, until then check out this video of the Kawasaki Halloween Parade!