Showing posts with label Survival Horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survival Horror. Show all posts

Deconstructing The Ring: Terror's Realm

In 2001 I saw a horror movie that totally changed the genre for me. I was at university and a friend who was (and still is) a complete movie nerd persuaded me to sit down and watch The Ring. Directed by Hideo Nakata and based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki, The Ring tells the story of a mysterious VHS tape that if watched, will forsake the viewer to certain death in seven days. It certainly peaked my interest in Japanese horror movies and over the following years I went on to buy the home releases of stuff like Dark Water, Uzumaki and The Grudge.
I'm not entirely sure what it is about horror from that particular part of the world, but there's always an intrinsic and overwhelming sense of dread that permeates every scene. There seems to be a strangeness that modern-day Japanese horror films effortlessly produce in spades: a gut-wrenching sense that while everything may seem normal, it is far from it. The colour may be off, the air just a little bit too still, the room just a little bit too quiet.

A built up, technologically advanced setting in which traditions and spirits are integral, and the odd juxtaposition of a totally empty street or apartment block are far more skin crawling than a typical haunted house or graveyard scene packed full of screaming zombies or monsters; normality steeped in an unknown and untraceable uneasiness is far more terrifying than a skeleton popping out of a cupboard, or a maniac running around with a knife. To me at least, that is the essence of modern Japanese horror; and while I am a huge fan of Hollywood productions like The Thing or The Shining (and more recently It Follows), what excites me is the notion that older, more powerful things exist in our world that have the ability to circumvent our technology and scare the living shit out of us.

HP Lovecast

As well as playing, collecting, discussing and writing about games in all of their guises (both retro and current), I also enjoy a good book. Granted, my most recent book purchases have been books about games: The History of Nintendo 1889-1980 by Florent Gorges and Masters of Doom by David Kushner, but I also enjoy reading the works of another author: HP Lovecraft. Lovecraft's most famous creation is arguably the whole Cthulu mythos, and the fear and dread that is encapsulated by that entire sub-genre hinges on the unnerving threat of inter-dimensional beings that possess ageless knowledge beyond human comprehension; and a running theme that being privy to this level of all-knowing consciousness would lead the frail human mind to total breakdown and madness. Personally, I much prefer Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Colour Out of Space to The Call of Cthulu, but that's just my personal preference.