The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh
Tags: Al Azif, Astarte, Cthulhu Mythos, Daily Life, Demonbane, Eldritch Abominations, Gen Urobuchi, Ghost, Haiyore! Nyarukosan, HP Lovecraft, Kaidan, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Mundane Routine, Necronomicon, Nitroplus, Nyarlathotep, Nyaruko-san, Outer Gods, Ring, Saya, Saya no Uta, Séance
Nyaruko, Al Azif and Saya by Gorakunin (娯楽人)
Chris Desjardins : I don’t know if it started with the original Japanese Ring, but there’s been a real resurgence of the Japanese horror film in the nineties. And contemporary Japanese horror pictures differ quite a bit from the majority of nineties American horror films, which seem to consist largely of the ‘teens-in-jeopardy-from-a-slasher’ genre. What do you think of the difference between the two styles ?
Kiyoshi Kurosawa : As you say, Ring did spawn quite the horro boom in Japan, and you could sat that Séance was part of that boom in that a television network wanted to catch that wave. From many years ago, way before Ring, there was the tradition of the kaidan or ghost story film, a tradition that really died out in the seventies. And I think we’re really seeing a resurrection in contemporary form of that. I think one of the biggest things that distinguishes a Japanese ghost story from an American one is that the Japanese ghosts are usually fairly passive and really don’t do too much. So, in an American horror movie, if it’s a monster or a slasher who comes after you aggressively, then the human beings has the choice of fighting back, running away; if the creatures speaks English you can speak to it and try to negociate an escape…(audience laughter) It can be a wonderful way to make a movie. What Japanese ghosts do is they just want to impress upon the living their deadness, so they basically just appear and are there. So, because the ghosts are passive, the human being who sees them doesn’t really need to run away or speak to them or even attack them. And, actually, daily life can continue more or less normally even in their presence. I think that’s what really distinguishes the Japanese ghost film; suddenly death is very close by, and you have to go on about the business of living. It’s the horrifying, awfully close preference of death. And, in that sense, it also has the benefit of being cheap to produce. Basically, you’re showing how the daily life, the mundane routine of someone suddenly graced by the presence of a ghost, is affected. And that’s where your skill as a writer and director comes in to portray those subtle changes.
Chris Desjardins, Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film, 2005, p.218