Adapted from Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel of the same name, Ringu リング is a cultural phenomena. Directed by Hideo Nakata, Ring launched a revival of horror filmmaking in Japan, and influenced American horror cinema at the turn of the 21st century. From the moment the Toho vanity card ends, Ringu gets under your skin. Forgoing the science behind the videotape in Koji Suzuki’s original novel, Hideo Nakata and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi instead re-imagine Ringu as a curse.
A cult phenomena has to start somewhere, and as a longtime fan of Hideo Nakata’s horror film Ring (1998) I thought it was about time I delved into the original source material.
Written by Koji Suzuki, his second novel after releasing his debut Rakuen 楽園 (Paradise), Ringu リング, or Ring as it would become known in the west, transformed the landscape of contemporary horror in the 1990s.
“Those who have viewed these images are fated to die at this exact hour one week from now. If you do not wish to die, you must follow these instructions exactly…”
In Rings we have the [second] long anticipated sequel to The Ring, the English language remake of the hugely successful Japanese horror Ringu. We also have a kind of Samara origin story, but this storyline seems to be less a labour of love, and instead, rather laboured.
Ringu, the celebrated Japanese horror movie that started it all, was released in 1998. We should remember that in the dark ages of the nineties, VHS tapes and creepy death-threat calls through landlines were not as yet, a form of ancient technology.
“First you watch it. Then you die.”
In the United Kingdom, Liverpool Small Cinema presents an iconic Japanese horror double bill: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977).
“To try and narrow down a selection of Japanese horror films, which cover all things psychological, supernatural, explicit and mythological, is no easy task however, so we felt that the programme would need to reflect the full scale of myths, folk and ghost tales that have dominated Japanese culture for centuries.”
Battle Royale (2000): Enforcing the terms of the new ‘Battle Royale Act’ one class of ninth-grade students is selected annually by lottery and relocated to an isolated island, fitted with explosive collars, given random weapons and forced to participate in a 3-day survival competition in which the last student left alive is the winner.