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One last refrain for Japanese horror.

One last refrain for Japanese horror. (photo)

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The next film from director Takashi Shimizu (of “The Grudge,” its sequels, its American remake and its sequel) will be “about a haunted song that drives its listeners to suicide,” according to Variety. Aside from its signature long-haired ghost women, what’s distinguished recent J-horror has been its way of drawing scares out of the mundane and unexpectedly modern.

That said, it’s hard not to see this announcement as something of a nadir for a genre that’s been in a rut for a few years now. Will this haunted song be available on iTunes? $.99 or $1.29? What would turn up on its station — the obvious, or the insidious? And how to get around the fact that someone’s already made a movie about a haunted song — 2007’s “Densen Uta,” itself a satire?

Some of the unconventional haunted things to turn up in contemporary Japanese horror, serious and less so:

– Haunted videotape: “Ring,” dir. Hideo Nakata, 1998

– Haunted cellphone: “One Missed Call,” dir. Takashi Miike, 2003

– Haunted convenience store: “Cursed,” dir. Yoshihiro Hoshino, 2004

– Haunted newspaper: “Premonition,” dir. Norio Tsuruta, 2004

– Haunted radio booth: “The Booth,” dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura, 2005

– Haunted hair extensions: “Exte,” dir. Sion Sono, 2007

In somewhat related news, Koji Shiraishi’s “Grotesque,” an almost plotless Japanese torture porn film in which a couple is graphically and imaginatively maimed by a sadistic madman for 73 minutes, has become one of the few recent titles to be banned in the UK. Which has likely made it the most downloaded film on the internet as we speak.

[Photo: “Densen Uta,” Shochiku Company, 2007]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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