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Introduction to Japanese Horror Film [Paperback]

Colette Balmain
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 Oct 2008
This book is a major historical and cultural overview of an increasingly popular genre. Starting with the cultural phenomenon of Godzilla, it explores the evolution of Japanese horror from the 1950s through to contemporary classics of Japanese horror cinema such as "Ringu" and "Ju-On: The Grudge". Divided thematically, the book explores key motifs such as the vengeful virgin, the demonic child, the doomed lovers and the supernatural serial killer, situating them within traditional Japanese mythology and folk-tales. The book also considers the aesthetics of the Japanese horror film, and the mechanisms through which horror is expressed at a visceral level through the use of setting, lighting, music and mise-en-scene. It concludes by considering the impact of Japanese horror on contemporary American cinema by examining the remakes of "Ringu", "Dark Water" and "Ju-On: The Grudge". The emphasis is on accessibility, and whilst the book is primarily marketed towards film and media students, it will also be of interest to anyone interested in Japanese horror film, cultural mythology and folk-tales, cinematic aesthetics and film theory. It covers classics of Japanese horror film such as "Pitfall", "Tales of Ugetsu", "Kwaidan", "Onibaba", "Hellish Love" and "Empire of Desire" alongside less well-known cult films such as "Pulse", "St John's Wort", "Infection" and "Living Hell: A Japanese Chainsaw Massacre". It includes analysis of the relationship between cultural mythology and the horror film. It explores the evolution of the erotic ghost story in the 1960s and 1970s. It examines the contemporary relationship between Japanese and American horror films.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (15 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0748624759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0748624751
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 452,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Scholars and spectators of world cinema coming to Japanese horror will find much to whet their appetites here, and will take away a solid grounding in the roots of this particular genre, presented accessibly and sincerely throughout. -- Timothy Iles, Associate Professor, Department of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies Even though this book is primarily oriented toward an audience with film and media background, it can be appealing to anyone who is interested in Japanese horror movies and Japanese anime and manga. In fact, through sustained references to Japanese mythology and folktales, it provides the reader with a deep insight into Japanese culture and the Western influence on its evolution. This book can actually be considered an original analysis of a transversal type of transformative work because it showcases the continuous cross-cultural influences between the United States/Europe and Japan that are elaborated and incorporated in each country's movie production. Of particular interest are the author's frequent comparisons with American horror that underline Western and Eastern cultural differences and how they are reflected through a film genre that has universal connotations. Thus, the book successfully overcomes Western readers' possible biases and allows them to fully understand the intrinsic meaning of symbols and archetypes that permeate the Japanese horror genre. -- Alessia Alfieroni Transformative Works and Cultures Scholars and spectators of world cinema coming to Japanese horror will find much to whet their appetites here, and will take away a solid grounding in the roots of this particular genre, presented accessibly and sincerely throughout. Even though this book is primarily oriented toward an audience with film and media background, it can be appealing to anyone who is interested in Japanese horror movies and Japanese anime and manga. In fact, through sustained references to Japanese mythology and folktales, it provides the reader with a deep insight into Japanese culture and the Western influence on its evolution. This book can actually be considered an original analysis of a transversal type of transformative work because it showcases the continuous cross-cultural influences between the United States/Europe and Japan that are elaborated and incorporated in each country's movie production. Of particular interest are the author's frequent comparisons with American horror that underline Western and Eastern cultural differences and how they are reflected through a film genre that has universal connotations. Thus, the book successfully overcomes Western readers' possible biases and allows them to fully understand the intrinsic meaning of symbols and archetypes that permeate the Japanese horror genre.

About the Author

Colette Balmain is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. She is the author of numerous articles on both European horror film and the East Asian horror film.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. 1 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book served as a crutial piece of research for my dissertation into Japanese horror films. The book mentioned a wide number of horrors that I had previously looked at and also had sparked my interest in other films. I like that this book stimulated my interest into Japanese horrors and made me look at a variaty of different films that do not tend to get publicised as much as others.

It also mentions the effects of the western world had on Japan and vice versa and how this impacted Japanese theatre and media. There are a number of examples of the influences/impact of the western world such as Godzilla, but this book goes even deeper into what other practices in Japan had been affected by this.

I would reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in Japanee horrors and where the influences came from. It serves as a very interesting read for those looking at Japanese culture being tied into media.
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