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Recently in local / urban legend Category

Ju-on: Kuroi Shoujo
[The Grudge: Girl in Black ]

Genre:Supernatural Horror

review in one breath

Young Fukie is suddenly stricken with a mysterious malady and is rushed to the local hospital for examination. Though her situation appears to be stabilizing, those coming into contact with her soon find themselves at the mercy of a dark, malignant power.This new Ju-on film is one of two made for the 10th anniversary commemoration of the Ju-on's original appearance.



Ju-on: Shiroi Roujo
[The Grudge:Old Lady in White ]

Genre:Supernatural Horror

review in one breath

When the Yokota family discovers a sprawling home on the market for a rock-bottom price, they can't resist and quickly move in. Little do they realize that their new dream home was once occupied by the infamous Saeki family and the locus of a horrendously malevolent curse on all who enter. This new Ju-on film is one of two made for the 10th anniversary commemoration of the Ju-on's original appearance.



Cursed
['Cho' Kowai Hanashi A: Yami no karasu]

Genre:

Food Mart From HELL !!

A seemingly innocent Food Mart apparently harbors massive spiritual malaise as various demonic curses inflict everyone who purchases something from the store. Only when a couple of intuitive souls wander into the store is the formidable mystery explained.



Honto ni Atta! Noroi Bideo 2
[True Happenings! Cursed Video 2]

Genre: Documentary-Styles Haunted Videos

review in one breath

This is the second in a LONG and popular series of documentaries investigating real-life cursed videos. This collection contains nine video clips believed to have captured a spiritual entity or be in some way the cause of misfortune for those who have seen them. The series' producers investigate the origin of each tape and interview eye-witnesses to their spooky impact. Then you are given a chance to see the tapes for yourself... AND THEN YOU TOO ARE CURSED!! Oh my.



Shikoku

Genre: Traditional Superstition Horror

review in one breath

One of the main reasons I enjoy Japanese horror is that these films so often tap into real cultural traditions and superstitions.One can actually learn or experience quite a bit about Japanese culture simply by watching the films. Shikoku is a prime example of the intermingling of actual folk lore with cinematics and as such is thoroughly enjoyable.



Shibuya Kaidan 2
[The Locker 2]

Genre: Creepy Urban Supernatural Horror

review in one breath

Demonic little Sachiko is back! And she is literally crumpling any foolish soul which dares open Shibuya coin locker #0009. Picking up at precisely the moment the prequel left off, the trajectory of horror continues as we learn more and more about the cause behind a growing epidemic of unnatural deaths. This sequel was recently released to US audiences along with the prequel on a single DVD entitled The Locker.



Shibuya Kaidan
[The Locker]

Genre: Creepy Urban Supernatural Horror

review in one breath

A Tokyo urban legend comes to life in unexpected, terrifying ways when a group of young people use a coin locker at the Shibuya station. As members of the group begin dying in bizarre and excruciating ways, the survivors frantically try to understand the curse they find themselves in. This prequel was recently released to US audiences along with the sequel on a single DVD entitled The Locker.



Shin Kyofu Taiken: Kiku to Nowareru Tapu
[True Terrifying Experiences: The Cursed Cassette Tape]

Genre: (Very) Low-budget Supernatural Horror

review in one breath

The Cursed Cassette Tape is one of the Shin Kyofu Taiken (True Terrifying Experiences) series produced by Broadway Productions (Tokyo). Broadway produces a lot of documentary style B-Horror for Japanese television, including the very popular Honto ni Atta! Noroi no Bideo (True Stories! The Cursed Video) and Ju-Lei: Shin Rei Mystery File (Cursed Ghost: Paranormal Mystery File). Alas, Broadway is also responsible for some laugh-out-loud bad documentary style Z-Horror. Rensa: The Cursed Video belongs in this category, as does the film we are now reviewing, Shin Kyofu Taiken: The Cursed Cassette Tape.



Kakashi
[Scarecrow]

Genre: Supernatural Local Superstition

review in one breath

Kakashi (which means "Scarecrow") is based on a manga by Junji Ito (as are Uzumaki and Tomie) and tells the story of Kaoru and her unfortunate adventure into the isolated mountain village of Kozukata in search of her brother Tsuyoshi. In its broadest sense, the tale is much like Woman in the Dunes and Inugami which also revolve around the misfortune of an unexpecting outsider who stumbles upon an isolated and bizarre community. Unlike these two, however, Kaoru is neither trapped (as in Woman in the Dunes) nor seduced (as in Inugami), but is instead virtually begged by the townfolk to leave. Her desire to find her brother is what keeps her in Kozukata, despite some very freaky people and events, and by the time she catches up with Tsuyoshi, all hell has literally broken loose.



Ju-Kai
[Ju-Kai Special: Noroi no Bideo]

Genre: Frankenstein

review in one breath

Ju-Kai (2000) is probably the best documentary-style horror tale I have seen thus far. By "documentary style" is meant, of course, the now well-known genre seemingly spawned by the low-budget, highly popular Blair Witch Project. A necessary discussion which I have never heard take place, however, is whether or not the producers of Blair Witch actually borrowed their "wildly original" format from prior Japanese horror videos.



Honto ni Atta! Noroi Bideo
[Cursed Video: The Movie]

Genre: Documentary Style Tale of the Supernatural

review in one breath

A real life investigation looks into a young man who suddenly dropped dead after watching a "cursed video". The trail of clues leads to several horrifying (and not so horrifying) tales of the woeful consequences of viewing this VHS from hell. By the documentary's end, the demonic recording is located and offered to you for viewing, but not without a major disclaimer!




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.



Mizuchi [Death Water]

Genre: Shinto-based Supernatural Horror
Director: Yamamoto Kiyoshi (2006)

review in one breath

An earthquake in a remote mountainous region unearths an ancient Shinto shrine dedicated to Yomotsu - Hirasaka, the mythical entrance to the Shinto underworld and its Fountain of the Dead. The discovery is significant both archaeologically and academically, but soon impacts surrounding residents as its terrible secret seeps into the local water supply causing horrific thirst, mind-bending visions and violent deaths.



The Great Yokai War
[Youkai Dai Sensou]

Genre: Traditional Monster Explosion

review in one breath

After being singled out at a local Shinto festival, Young Tadashi finds himself in the middle of an epic battle between traditional youkai and the forces of Evil. This is a rather amazing tale utilizing nearly every traditional youkai known. Directed by Miike Takashi and tapping Mizuki Shigeru for creative design, this is a veritable smorgasbord of fun and nostalgia.



Nihon Onnen Chizu
[Map of Haunted Japan]

Genre: Geographic-based Documentary Horror

review in one breath

An investigative team sets out to document their search for the mysterious Sugisawa Mura, an historically documented location which has disappeared from contemporary maps. Anecdotal tales link the location with several infamous incidents marked by the sudden rage, murderous acts and suicide of otherwise normal people. Their investigation leads them through a collection of unnerving interviews and locations until they finally arrive at what they believe to be the remote Sugisawa Mura.



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