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March 2008 Archives

Samurai Chicks [Dokuritsu shojo gurentai]

Genre: Politically-minded Ninja-ettes
Director: Mari Asato (2007)

review in one breath

Deep within the basement of Tokyo's Orion Dance Academy is a politically subversive training ground where aspiring young starlettes are transformed into assassins and spies. Highly skilled in toe-tapping terrorist techniques and sophisticated disguises (such as a large Pink Bunny suit!), our team of four babettes must fight the diabolical security forces of Japan to free their Mother Land, Okinawa. Will they succeed? Will they survive? Will they be able to finally perfect that cool but tricky dance move before their oppressors come crashing down upon them???

Prayer Beads [Omoinotama Nenju]

Genre: Horror Anthology

review in one breath

This is a 9 episode collection of Japanese horror vignettes, all either directed or supervised by CG/FX guru Masahiro Okano. With stories ranging from psychedelic sci-fi to traditional folk horror, from the sentimental to the macabre, this collections presents a number of entertaining tales with impressive cinematography. In relation to the other Japanese horror anthologies released in the West, this collection stands near the top in terms of cinematic quality and visual polish.

J-Horror: The definitive guide to The Ring, The Grudge and beyond

Genre: J-Horror Filmography
Author: David Kalat (2007)

review in one breath

This recently published book by US author David Kalat delves deeply into the major films in the international J-Horror craze. Through a purely Western perspective, Kalat offers a very rich and thorough treatment of the history, details, trends and people behind exemplar films of this genre. I found this to be a very informative and entertaining exploration into the J-Horror phenomenon.

Ring [Ringu]

Genre: Japanese Horror
Author: Koji Suzuki (1991)

review in one breath

After having seen all the Japanese and US film adaptations of the Ring horror tale, I thought I better read the original text by author Koji Suzuki. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I was familiar with the storyline, I couldn't put this book down once I started reading. And yes, there are some insightful portions which never made it into the movies.

Carved [Kuchisake Onna]

Genre: Urban Legend Horror
Director: Shiraishi Koji (2007)

review in one breath

The well known urban legend of a slit-mouthed woman comes suddenly to life in a small Japanese town, terrifying first the children and then adults while wreaking havoc on a few unfortunate victims. This is a modern re-telling with a few unique twists of a century-old tale of a horribly disfigured woman whose vengeful spirit abducts children and submits them to a grisly fate.

Ghost Train [Otoshimono]

Genre: Mass Transit Horror
Director: Takeshi Ken Furusawa (2006)

review in one breath

On any given day, the number of items turned into the Japan Railway's Lost and Found division is staggering. In most cases, such items are discovered and turned in by honest individuals who soon thereafter forget wholly about the incident. But in a few documented cases in a particularly remote mountainous region, those finding lost items soon go missing themselves.

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