asian horror in hollywood

When it comes to really disturbing horror films, with the exception of visceral nightmares like The Shining and The Exorcist, Hollywood really doesn’t know how to traumatise its audience enough to need counseling, confusing screaming Boo! in the audience’s collective ear with instilling a bodily revulsion. Along with masterpieces of body-horror like Cronenburg’s early films, Shivers and Rabid, the last few years have seen some truly upsetting and revolting works to come out of asia. The Age looks at this new wave of asian horror, which like the early 90s genius of Hong Kong martial arts and action films are currently fueling Hollywoods rapacious and creatively vacuous and desperate remake industry.

The key success factor is the creep factor of the films themselves. Creepy and successful enough, in fact, that many Hollywood studios are now buying up remake rights of the hits. Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake of Nakata’s Ring grossed more than $US128 million. A sequel is already on the way. (It’s an interesting point that, aside from the classic trilogy that includes Nakata’s original film and sequel, there is – at least – a Korean remake of the original titled Ring Virus, and Rasen: The Spiral, the original sequel that debuted in Japan with the first of Nakata’s films.)

Expect to also see a Dreamworks remake of Korean ghost movie A Tale of Two Sisters; a remake of The Eye from Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s production house; the Disney-linked Pandemonium Films’ remake of Nakata’s Dark Water; and Wes Craven’s take on Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse.

Other films may also be on their way. The rights to Nakata’s Don’t Look Up were bought by South African producer Anant Singh, and United Artists is in talks to acquire the remake rights to Kurosawa’s Cure, to be produced by Michael Stipe and Sandy Stern’s Single Cell Productions.

Ju-on: The Grudge is also being remade, although this film in particular seems to be sticking to its Asian beginnings, with the original director and at least two of its stars on board.