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 Last.fm 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]